Local, state leaders rally against intolerance
Pittsford, N.Y./Rochester, N.Y. – The Town of Pittsford is saying “Enough is enough” after more slips of paper directing readers to white supremacist websites were left littered in a neighborhood. The is the fourth time this has happened, and it comes along with other intolerant acts in Rochester in recent weeks.
Tuesday, community leaders gathered at a rally in the City of Rochester to spread the message that quietly condemning these actions is not enough. They say everyone needs to take specific action.
The Southern Policy Law Center says there have been 700 cases of hateful harassment around the country since the presidential election. In our area, there have been incidents such as swastikas being drawn at Wellsville College and SUNY Geneseo, as well as two rainbow flags, supporting the LGBTQ community, being burned in Rochester.
Tuesday, faith leaders rallied against intolerance.
“The sadness of this time is not that the hate acts are occurring and the groups are out there, but that they have been given permission to speak,” said Rabbi Alan Katz of Temple Sinai.
Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith was in attendance, taking a stand against the slips of paper that have popped up in the town.
“It is a difficult thing when people drop things off in the dead of night,” said Smith, “so we feel that we have an obligation as the town government to do everything we can to bring this to an end.”
The Town of Pittsford has sent a letter to the New York State attorney general, requesting information the organization may have provided to the state to register or get a license to solicit money.
The separate incidents are part of a nationwide pattern, one which an emotional Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said must stop.
“The Statue of Liberty that stands in New York Harbor, it stands for something,” she said at Tuesday’s rally. “It stands for the principle that we believe in freedom for all, that we believe what makes us stronger is our diversity.”
The senator said if someone hears something offensive, they should say something about their values.
As for Pittsford, police say there is a tricky line to prosecuting this as a hate crime, because there are also protected issues of free speech.
If the town can identify the group responsible, it can prosecute under the littering ordinance.