As hate-filled propaganda directed at Pennsylvania’s Jewish, LGBTQ, and communities of color continues to increase, the state is providing grants to help protect several religious institutions and schools in Bucks County and across the state.
Governor Tom Wolf announced last week that $5.23 million will be used to enhance security at the schools, churches, temple and mosques.
Bucks County recipients will receive $270,850, according to a statement from the Governor’s office. Those receiving money in Bucks include Salem United Church of Christ, Ohev Shalom of Bucks County and George School, among others.
“This is an investment in the safety and security of the diverse communities that are the tapestry of Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in his statement. “It’s unfortunate that hate continues to surface here, hurting Pennsylvanians and tearing apart our communities. I will continue to stand with and support these communities in any way I can.”
It was just last month that police set out to investigate the distasteful anitsemetic vandalization of Montgomery cemeteries, with graffiti swastika and racist commentaries desecrating gravestones. Unsurprisingly, amid the promotion of hateful discourse, Bucks County had the most arrests nationwide from the Jan. 6 riot, an event steeped with much of the same sentiments plaguing the county.
People should continue to encourage lawmakers to support laws protecting people of vulnerable groups. Legislation such as the trans-exclusionary House Bill 972 must be rejected, said Ryan Matthews, Pennsylvania’s director of the Human Rights Campaign.
“This kind of legislation, which targets a marginalized population without doing any good whatsoever, is simply part of a coordinated, nationwide campaign aiming to incite hatred and attract extremist votes, and it has no place in this state,” said Matthews. “The Pennsylvania Senate should do the right thing here and reject this bigoted attack.”
As hate crimes continues to increase in Pennsylvania, and the state recorded the highest rate of white supremacist propaganda incidents in the nation in 2021, this grant program goes a long way in serving vulnerable groups.