Released: September 21, 2023
Delaware County Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution denouncing hate crime in Delaware County during their public meeting on September 20, 2023.
Antisemitic vandalism incidents have been reported in Delaware County recently, and according to data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League, Pennsylvania overall saw a 65% increase in antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism, and harassment in 2022. Other hateful behavior has occurred and is occurring in Delaware County and state-wide. According to data maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania saw a sharp increase in hate crimes in 2021, with 255 incidents reported, almost as many as the previous three years combined.
In 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raised civil rights violations, including hate crimes, to its highest-level national threat priority, and preventing and prosecuting hate crimes is a top priority for the U.S. Justice Department.
The resolution states that current Pennsylvania law is inadequate to prevent this surge of hate crimes, and stronger legal protection is necessary to protect the residents of Delaware County and calls on Delaware County residents to stand up against hate.
In part, the resolution reads:
Whereas, bigotry, violence, hate, and racism do not align with the values of Delaware County Council and our community and they have no place in Delaware County and will not be tolerated.
Whereas, hate crimes instill fear across communities and undermine our democracy; and we believe that the vast majority of County residents are as appalled as we are by these crimes, and it is only a small group of persons who are responsible for trying to spread hate in Delaware County.
In the resolution, Council urges state lawmakers to promptly pass the package of anti-hate crime bills (including HB 1024, HB 1025, HB 1026, & HB 1027) currently being considered in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Council also urges all residents to speak up against hateful behavior so that we may create a more just, peaceful, and inclusive society which will benefit everyone.
“We can no longer sit silently,” said Delaware County Council Member Richard Womack. “We all know that hate crimes do exist, and we must be outspoken, and we must call that out, and that is what we are doing here today. When I look around our county and I see that people are being targeted because of their race, because of their religion, because of the sexuality, there is something wrong. This Council will not stand for this. We will speak out against it. We will not stand for it.”
The adopted resolution can be found here: