Galesburg holds discussion to unite against hate

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GALESBURG, Illinois - On February 21, 2017 dozens of people joined at Temple Sholom in Galesburg to unite against hate.

Lecia Brooks, outreach director for Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama spoke about past and current hate crimes across the nation. Brooks travels nationwide educating communities on hate crimes and how people can stand united.

"If we look at post election there has been an up tick in hate crime and hate harassment across the country," said Brooks.There are no official statistics about hate crimes since the election. The Southern Poverty Law Center takes into account both hate crimes and non-prosecutable incidents of hate.

David Amor and Jim Jacobs both helped organize the event to raise awareness of hate groups and how communities can rise above.

The event didn't address issues of free speech and focused on violent acts and intimidation towards minority groups. "We are not talking about issues of free speech," added Amor. "People can do that and that's part of America."

Amor says no hate crimes have been reported in Galesburg and hopes the discussion will prevent crimes that could divide the community.

"When communities come together they really have power. Hate isn't coming to our community," said Amor.

People attending the event all shared a common goal, they want change for the future.

"We want everything to get better so we are here to see how we can do our part," said Kim Burkett.

"It makes you feel sad. Kind of like we went back in time and almost like racism is acceptable in a sense," said Roland Williams jr.

Brooks provided attendees of the event with resources for minority groups and also spoke about how communities can recognize extremist groups.