80% increase in Illinois hate crimes in just 1 year: ADL

ByJasmine Minor WLS logo
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
80% increase in Illinois hate crimes in just 1 year: ADL
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The Anti-Defamation League said there has been an 80% increase in Illinois hate crimes in just 1 year. Planned Parenthood said it can tell.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new report shows a massive increase in hate crimes and speech across the state.

Several organizations are teaming up to demand change.

The Anti-Defamation League said there was an 80% increase in hate crimes in Illinois in just one year.

In fact, leaders say their organizations are spending upwards of $10 million a year just on security alone.

"That's $10 million that would otherwise be spent on things like feeding the hungry, educating the young, providing emergency housing or financial aid," said Dan Goldwin, Jewish United Fund executive director.

Heightened security seems imperative, when looking at the data.

"The windows were replaced, the stickers were removed, but the invisible scars remain," Chicago Loop Synagogue President Lee Zoldan said.

Just a few years ago, the Chicago Loop Synagogue was vandalized, with smashed windows and painted swastikas.

"Hate doesn't stop with speech. It manifests itself into acts of targeted violence," Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said.

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And it has.

In just a year, from 2021 to 2022, the new ADL report shows a 128% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the state and a 111% increase in white supremacist propaganda.

Planned Parenthood said they see it, too, during abortion appointments.

"I know of no other medical appointment where escorts are needed," said Cristina Villareel, with Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

The ADL said across the Midwest they responded to over 1,000 incidents last year.

By Thanksgiving, they're expecting to surpass that number.

From RefugeeOne to the Chinese American Service League, activists are standing together to demand things like accountability for social media companies and strengthening the state's response to hate crimes in order to make Illinois a safer and more welcoming place.

"It's not a question of free speech because these are private companies. It's a question of corporate accountability," said Oren Segal, the ADL Center on Extremism vice president.

Illinois will open a state helpline to report these incidents, but it's also a place to look for resources. That will be opening in the spring.

"None of us are immune, and nowhere is immune from these incidents," ADL Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg said.