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Nearly 150 Mayors, Including Six in ADL’s Southwest Region, Commit to Combating Hate and Extremism

  • September 15, 2022

Nearly 150 mayors, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and four additional mayors in ADL’s Southwest Region, have signed or renewed a 2017 pledge to combat hate, extremism and bigotry in their cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) announced today as the White House convenes a summit to address the problem head-on. Other regional mayors include Port Arthur Mayor Bill Bartie, Galveston Mayor Craig Brown, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, and Beaumont Mayor Robin Mouton.

“We are proud and gratified to have six mayors from our region signing the Mayor’s Compact,” said ADL Southwest Regional Director Mark B. Toubin. “While we know most Mayors  recognize the importance of diversity and are committed to providing a safe, welcoming, warm home for their citizens, the public expression of their commitment sends an important message to all residents, and encourages other political leaders to support respect and fight hate.”

The nation has faced an increase in hate-based violence and harassment – hate crimes rose by an alarming six percent in 2020, according to the latest FBI data, the highest level reported in the last 12 years; and antisemitic incidents remain at historic levels nationwide.

These victims of hate-fueled violence, often from marginalized communities, also face efforts to weaken existing civil rights policies and reduce their enforcement, suppress voting, and restrict what can be taught in schools or housed in libraries. Through the Compact, mayors are committing to the 10 key components to promote the fundamental principles of justice and equality for which America strives.

Those components include:

  1. Expressly rejecting extremism, racism, and all forms of bigotry
  2. Denouncing all acts of hate wherever they occur
  3. Ensuring public safety while protecting free speech and other basic constitutional rights
  4. Calling for fully resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes
  5. Elevating and prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in our nation’s schools
  6. Supporting communities and bringing together civic and community leaders to build trust
  7. Celebrating diversity, fostering inclusivity and challenging bias
  8. Promoting professional development for law enforcement in the areas of responding to and reporting hate incidents, hate crimes, and domestic terrorism
  9. Encouraging residents in their communities to report hate incidents and crimes, including using hotlines and online tools
  10. Maintaining civil rights enforcement and improving hate crime laws when necessary

“Mayors have long supported civil rights action, with many speaking out over the last six decades to combat racism within their own cities,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “As we continue to witness violent extremism spread division in our communities, mayors are combatting hate, discrimination and bigotry by working with the ADL to recommit to our Compact. The nation’s mayors start this work locally, providing a guide for the nation, cultivating empathy for fellow neighbors, and ensuring that all Americans are able to live their lives without fear.”

This compact is an update to one organized by ADL and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2017 following the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in response to the disturbing hate and violence displayed.

“Our leaders across every level of government must speak with moral clarity and take the lead in combating hate and extremism,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The hate we saw in Charlottesville persists to this day and we are proud that many of our nation’s mayors renewed their pledge to fight the hatred that infects too many cities across America. Mayors understand all too well how these evils affect individual communities, and local government often makes the biggest day-to-day impact in people’s lives. This work will be central in stopping extremism-motivated violence and we at ADL stand with mayors in our joint effort to keep communities safe.”

The full compact is available to read here.