Bias incidents in New Jersey elevated by nearly a 3rd final yr in comparison with 2020, new numbers from the state Legal professional Normal’s Workplace present.
Performing Legal professional Normal Matt Platkin mentioned there have been 1,871 incidents of harassment, assault or different types of intimidation against people due to their race, ethnicity, faith or gender id in 2021 — mirroring an increase in hate and bias incidents nationally.
He attributed the rise to higher methods of reporting bias — which may now be performed electronically — and divisive rhetoric.
“There’s no question the rhetoric around these groups, particularly as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic for anti-Asian incidents, is having a contributory effect, and these words are not empty,” Platkin mentioned. “There’s people on the ground who listen to them and act upon them. And we’re unfortunately seeing that translate into a rise in hate and bias incidents in New Jersey.”
Preliminary 2021 numbers present Asian and transgender people noticed the largest spikes in focused incidents, with increases of 87% and 171%, respectively, from 2020. Anti-Black incidents constituted 39% of the incidents, essentially the most for any group, whereas Jewish people have been essentially the most generally focused non secular group.
“New Jersey is proudly one of the most diverse states in the country, and we’ve made clear that hate has no home here,” Gov. Phil Murphy mentioned in an announcement.
The AG’s workplace additionally launched its closing bias incident report for 2020. It likewise discovered an increase in incidents, tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, backlash against the Black Lives Matter protests and the 2020 presidential election. These components probably contributed to 2021 incidents, officers mentioned.
“We need to do a better job coming together, speaking to one another, and educating communities on how to interact with each other,” Platkin mentioned. His workplace will use $1 million in federal funding to extend public consciousness round reporting bias incidents and to standardize how these incidents are investigated, he added.
“We know that this is a snapshot,” Platkin mentioned. “It’s not the entire universe of bias incidents in the state of New Jersey. It’s just what we reported. So we’re going to continue to do extensive outreach, particularly to groups that may not be reporting all of their incidents.”
Residents can report bias incidents on-line at https://bias.njcivilrights.gov or name 800-277-BIAS.