Forum Raises Awareness Of Hate Crimes

Sep 18, 2013

The Anti-Defamation League is teaming with other nonprofits in New Orleans to raise awareness of hate crimes. Some statistics indicate a trend of under-reporting.

The FBI says that in 2011 Louisiana reported seven hate crimes — none in New Orleans. But Kentucky, with a similar population, reported 186.

Sarah Jane Brady is executive director of the Forum for Equality, which hosted a community forum at the Jewish Community Center. She says the public must be made aware of what a hate crime is: A crime motivated by bias or bigotry.

“We cannot get better if we don’t respond together," Brady said. "And I want us all to understand that there are resources, there are people and we’re here for them.”  

Adikus Suylpizi knows first-hand about hate crimes. He and his partner, David Chase, reported being beaten in the French Quarter by two men, hurling homophobic slurs along with bricks that left them unconscious.

Those suspects were arrested and are facing hate crime charges.

“It’s time this part of the country started picking up on the fact that many people are out there, and that there are different types of people that belong on the streets, belong in public.”   

Despite being involved in one of three hate crimes reported this summer in New Orleans, Suylpizi says he never considered moving away.

“I spent a long time getting here to live in New Orleans," Sulypizi said. "I’m not leaving.”  

The two other hate crimes reported this summer were paintball attacks aimed at gays, and vandalism at a home marked with homophobic slurs.

Five teens were charged with hate crimes in the paintball attack. No one’s been charged in the vandalism.

Brady says people can report hate crimes to New Orleans police or the FBI, or contact the Forum for Equality for more information.