Community Group Opposing Bigotry To Hold Launch Event Sunday

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to speak at the event at B-CC High School, which will include a panel discussion and volunteer fair


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Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

A nonprofit organization that formed shortly after the November presidential election to combat the rising number of hate crimes that have occurred is holding a launch event Sunday at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

Communities United Against Hate—Montgomery County aims to be a networking organization that brings together local activist groups that are concerned about hate crimes or bigotry in their community, David Lee, a spokesman for the nonprofit, said Friday.

“If somebody is feeling uneasy or uncertainty about hate crimes and really the state of the community as a whole, I think this is a great forum to be informed,” Lee said.

The organization’s launch event will feature Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh as keynote speaker, as well as a panel including representatives from local Sikh, Jewish and LGBT communities.

Lee stressed the organization is nonpartisan—though it may not agree, for example, with the president’s immigration policies, “for reasons of inclusivity” it is not expressly “anti-Trump.”

Communities United Against Hate’s list of sponsors includes Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Reps. John Sarbanes,  John Delaney and Jamie Raskin, County Executive Ike Leggett, all nine members of the Montgomery County Council and more elected leaders and officials.

Running from 4:30 to 7 p.m., the event will include a volunteer fair, providing residents with the opportunity to learn more about or get involved with local volunteer organizations. More than 50 organizations will be represented, including Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition, National Organization for Women and the Anti-Defamation League, according to the release on the event.

The organization plans to help individual groups network and pool information and resources, Lee said. It also hopes to address hate crimes in schools and become a resource to teachers and students, and the organization is additionally putting together a rapid response plan for when hate crimes or unexpected events occur.

While the organization will not directly represent victims of hate crimes, Lee said it would help connect them with lawyers. Communities United Against Hate has a website of resources and an “activism calendar” with dates of events around the community.

Frosh wrote in a statement he is committed to working with “important citizen groups such as CUAH” to combat hate and enforce state laws.

“The current state of affairs not only presents a challenge,” he wrote, “but an opportunity—an opportunity, neighborhood by neighborhood—to declare that justice, fairness and tolerance are the keystones of America’s character—and that we will stand for nothing less.”

Paul Tiao, president of the organization, wrote in a statement the launch event will be a “new opportunity” for residents to work together to change their communities, saying Communities United Against Hate “will help you become better informed and actively involved in this important fight.”

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