OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Nebraska and Iowa have seen a 21% increase in hate crimes reports in recent years. Most are happening based on race and ethnicity.
There are calls to end prejudice across the country but the Anti Defamation League's Murphy Wulfgar says society has a long way to go.
"The conflict that happened between Israel and Hamas, we've seen anti-semitic incidents go through the roof, because of the pandemic, we've seen AAPI incidents rise, we've seen because of the protests last summer, we've seen a lot of anti-BIPOC sentiment," Wulfgar said.
Wulfgar is noticing incidents in the Great Plains are becoming more direct. People are getting emboldened to confront other people with their hate. Wulfgar cites politics as a catalyst.
"Our public discourse has devolved to such a point that it has become commonplace to see political leaders get into the mud on Twitter and Facebook and even in a live interaction or interview," Wulfgar said.
Iowa-Nebraska NAACP's Betty Andrews acknowledges the fight to end prejudice will be ongoing.
"The bottom line is we just want to make sure that we continue to fight because we do believe justice can be had. But we also realize racism is like a weed. You have to keep and continue to pluck it," Andrews said.
Wulfgar is finding a silver lining. While we are seeing an increase in hate, we're also seeing an increase in reporting.
"We're seeing an increase in awareness. Our numbers going up could also be reflective of the fact that people are not going to take it anymore, they're just not standing for it," Wulfgar said.
He admits we cannot eradicate hate completely but we can still find ways to spark change.
"If there's a million other people like me who are trying to mitigate it in our communities, then we contain it and we start to generationally make it better," Wulfgar said.
For more resources about combating hate crimes:
- Anti Defamation League: ADL.org
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: NAPABA.org