This past weekend, we all watched the reports of the hate crime shooting in Buffalo and Laguna Woods with horror and sorrow. We condemn this killing of innocent humans based on the color of their skin, along with all other crimes perpetrated by white supremacists. We are especially mindful of the particular pain this incident inflicts on members of our community who identify as Black and Brown. We hold you in our hearts and renew our commitment to working toward a world without racism and bigotry in all its forms, starting here in our town.
Sadly, white supremacy is nothing new. When recruiting members, these groups seek out the most vulnerable in our communities. Hingham is not immune. Last week, a flier from a group called the Patriot Front professing the importance of family values was found in Wompatuck State Park. Another was found there yesterday The Patriot Front is a white supremacist group. Unfortunately, this is not the first time one of these groups has distributed materials in Hingham.
There are some steps we can all take to make sure hate groups do not get a foothold in our community:
- If you have kids, be aware of the media they are consuming and talk to them about it – and this subject in general. Digital platforms such as YouTube are used as recruiting tools by these groups. This often comes in the form of videos that then draw viewers’ attention to propaganda videos. Online gaming is another avenue of access for recruitment. Obviously, innocuous names like the Patriot Front may not immediately raise red flags for young people, nor do these groups use overt antisemitic and white supremacist language. Rather, they appeal to things like “patriotism” and “American identity.” The South Poverty Law Center recently released resources to help parents combat online radicalization of youth.
- If you or your child see something questionable at school, report it to administration or another trusted adult in the building.
- If you see something in the community, you may report it to our town’s Civil Rights Officer, Lieutenant John Marquardt. The HPD has established a direct line to Lt. Marquardt where you can leave a message at 781-804-2230 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lt. Marquardt has been contacted about the flier mentioned above and is conducting an investigation. Visit this page for more information regarding hate crimes and hate incidents.
- The Hingham Select Board is expected to announce the membership of our new Human Rights Commission shortly and they were grateful to have had very well-qualified applicants for this important new commission. While the HRC will not be charged with adjudicating individual disputes or claims, they should be made aware of issues of concern that arise in the community.
- Feel free to contact us at email@example.com if you see, hear or experience something that concerns you. We are a nonprofit staffed by community volunteers, not a town agency, but we are happy to help and provide support in any way we can.
- Learn more about ways to interrupt bias when you hear it. Explain the impact of words when they are harmful. Learn more about history and speak on the historical context of ideas and statements that are harmful to marginalized people. Do not worry if you don’t have all the right words, it is far better to talk and make mistakes than to stay silent. Keep thinking about how we can hold those around us accountable, and how we stand up for ourselves and others. A great place to start building some excellent tools is “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias” by Dolly Chugh.
The HUC stands with all those affected by incidents of bigotry, racism or intolerance, including members of our BIPOC, LGBQTIA+, and religious communities, as well as persons who experience discrimination based on gender, disability or neurodiversity. If you are a member of one of these groups and you live, study, work or worship in our town, please know that you are not alone.
The HUC Board