The Bay Area is home to nine hate groups and as of recent educational institutions have been one of the targets of their hateful agenda. In late-February, flyers in the style of WWII propaganda with the text, “LOVE WHO YOU ARE; EMBRACE YOUR HERITAGE; BE WHITE,” were posted around Branham and Pioneer High School, but were quickly taken down by Leadership students. The incident at Branham has been determined to be orchestrated by outside sources, not Branham students.
During the weekend of Feb.18, anti-Semitic posters and stickers were posted around the De Anza Community College campus, which were targeted to Jewish students with hateful rhetoric and denial of the Holocaust. De Anza held a forum against anti-Semitism and other hate and led an investigation.
Hate crimes have skyrocketed since the President Trump’s inauguration. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive advocacy group has been using their political news blog, Think Progress, to track hate crimes since President Trump’s inauguration.
The rise in hate crimes can be attributed to Trump supporters, who have used his rhetoric as an excuse to target ethnic and religious minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.
The CAP found that between Nov. 2016 and Feb. 9 of 2017, 261 hate related incidents were reported, and about 109 that “included specific references to Trump, his election, or his policies.”
Although the Bay Area is known to be full of liberal coast dwelling snowflakes, we are no exception in hate attacks.
Think Progress lists California among states with the most reported hate incidents (27 total, mainly attacking Latinos and Muslims) along with New York, Texas, and Florida. It should be noted that these states have larger populations so it is expected that they will have more reports of crimes, these specific states have seen a rise in hate related incidents reported.
English teacher Ms. Nancy Freschi has worked at Branham since its reopening in 1999 and has seen the changes that the campus has gone through.
“In my history of working at Branham, the only incident of students being victims of a hate-related incident was about six or seven years ago,” Ms. Freschi said. “Someone spray-painted the American flag on the rock on Cinco de Mayo. There was also some tension leading up to Cinco de Mayo, but nothing ended up happening.”
Administration are set on making sure that Branham is a safe place for students to learn. Principal Cheryl Lawton stated, “At this point, our goal is to make sure that our campus is safe and we will do whatever we need to do. Right now we are trying to get our security cameras fixed.”
When the people who placed the posters at Branham are caught, they will be criminally charged.
“Although we have to respect freedom of speech, the posters will be investigated as a hate crime and at the very least vandalism, because the perpetrators did not have permission to hang them up,” Ms. Lawton said.