The FBI reports that reports of hate crimes in Arizona are at their highest levels in nearly two decades. Horizonte’s Jose Cardenas spoke with Carlos Galindo-Elvira, director of community engagement and partnerships at Chicanos Por La Causa, about the surge in hate crimes.
At the highest levels for hate crimes, Galindo-Elvira said hate crimes are an extremely tough subject to talk about. “It is important to talk about,” he said. “We want to make sure we have an informed community and that voices are heard.” This has been the highest increase in hate crimes in the past 12 years with most hate crimes impacting the African-American community, he added. Heightened levels of hate crimes have also increased for Latino, LGBTQ+, and Jewish communities.
For the state of Arizona, the highest amount of hate crimes have been reported since 2001. “We know that one hate crime is one too many,” Galindo-Elvira mentioned.
There has been national discussion about hate crimes against the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community. The numbers in Arizona did not reflect an increase as seen nationally in hate crimes against the AAPI community. “We’re grateful for that,” he said. “Chicanos Por La Causa is one of the organizations that have continually spoken up against the hate crimes against the AAPI community.”
According to Galindo-Elvira, this year, only 82 out of 125 law enforcement agencies reported hate crimes, compared to 91 last year. “It is important we reach out to law enforcement because it can be a training issue, or an issue that a law enforcement agency does not have an individual designated to make the reporting to the FBI,” he added.
“We need to form coalitions of like-minded organizations of diverse backgrounds to come together and meet with law enforcement.” He said the coalitions will help determine where we are as a state and nation on the baseline of hate crimes.