Community Groups Warn Against Backlash, Announce 'Homeland Security Pledge'

March 28, 2003

The Human Relations Commission of Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles held a press conference today with representatives from various organizations including the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, and the South Asian Network.

Also present were representatives from the FBI, U.S. District Attorney's office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.

The various organizations held the conference to show solidarity against any backlash that may occur as a result of the war on Iraq and present the Homeland Security Pledge. Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, Robin Toma, pointed out that hate crimes don't only affect the targeted community. He said, "the Sikh Community is at high risk of backlash and they are not Middle-eastern and they are not Muslims."

Homeland Security Pledge:

I pledge to do my part to protect the safety, security and rights of all members of the community during this time of war and when terrorism is a threat.

I pledge to reach out to members of this community who may be targets of hate and suspicion based on stereotypes to ensure they are not silenced into enduring acts of hatred due to fear, cultural or language barriers, or as result of misinformation on our laws protecting victims of hate.

I pledge to educate others and myself about those groups who have become victims of bias, stereotyping, scapegoating, and to learn and practice how to resolve conflict peacefully.

I pledge to speak out in solidarity with all these community members who may be victims of hate crimes, harassment, or hate talk due to the war and the threat posed by terrorism.

I pledge to promote understanding and respect for my neighbors, my community, and all people who reside, work and visit Southern California to thus make our homeland more secure for all.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is proud to be a partner of the Hate Crime Network sponsored by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission.

If you need to report a hate crime please call 800-898-3558.

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