Thousands of people marched from Foley Square in Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday in an act of solidarity against anti-Semitism amid a wave of hate crimes in New York City and beyond.
The march, dubbed “No Fear. No Hate,” was organized by Jewish organizations such as the United Jewish Appeal Federation, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee along with other community organizations. The event drew a crowd of nearly 20,000 people, according to the mayor’s office.
Since Dec. 23, there have been at least 13 anti-Semitic incidents in New York City, with the most recent attack occurring on Jan. 2 when two women beat and shouted slurs at an Orthodox Jewish man in Williamsburg. Over the last two years, attacks against Jewish people made up almost half of all reported hate crimes, according to the NYPD.
“Right now, as a Jew, I am scared to send my children to school,” said Roxane Steinhauser, 38, who has been called slurs on the subway and walking in her neighborhood of Crown Heights. “We should not be afraid to walk in the street, or of showing our Judaism.”
Steinhauser added that she worries about the world her children will live in 10 years if something isn’t done now to stomp out hatred.
Elected officials representing all parts of the city marched alongside New Yorkers and visitors, including Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who will propose a law this upcoming legislative session to label hate crimes as a form of domestic terrorism. Cuomo also announced that an additional $45 million of state funds would go towards non-public schools and religious institutions to increase security and that there would be an increased police presence in vulnerable communities.
“What happened in Brooklyn and what happened in Monsey is an attack on every New Yorker,” the governor said.
On Dec. 14, a man forced his way into a rabbi’s home in the upstate city and attacked five people with a machete during a Hanukkah celebration.
But participants acknowledged that the uptick in hate is not confined to New York.
“There is rising hatred against all minorities in this country,” said David Sumka, 53, from Monteville, New Jersey. To Sumka and other marchers, the march is more about stopping hate in general, not just against Jews.
“It’s reached a threshold where it can’t be tolerated,” added Barbara Franklin, 65, from Morristown, New Jersey.