Local Leaders speak out against ‘wave of intolerance’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind--Local leaders say there’s a wave of intolerance spreading across the country. They want to make it clear that Indianapolis won’t stand for it.

On Friday, local leaders from minority groups across the city gathered at the statehouse to speak out about what they're calling a wave of intolerance.

They say they've seen an uptick in hate based crime directed at minorities and communities like the LGBTQ community following last week’s presidential election.

"I have heard commentary that blames this hate on the recent election, but I challenge differently I challenge that the hate was always there and merely waited to be empowered to action," said Jason Nolen of Indy Pride.

Deputy Mayor Dr. David Hampton, who was a keynote speaker, says he's urging everyone who will listen to rise above the any influx of hate. He hopes that through this, Indianapolis will stay a welcoming city.

"If you`re LGBTQ you are welcome, if you're heterosexual you are welcome, if you are Muslim you are welcome, if you are Jewish you are welcome, if you are Christian you are welcome," he said.

Earlier this week college students across the nation walked out of their classrooms to protest the same issues. Those students demanded that their campuses be turned into sanctuaries for all those who feel targeted.

"America is a diverse country and we're here to show that today that America will not stand for racism, homophobia or anything that diminishes any minority," said Hector Morales.

One of the speakers at Friday's event became overwhelmed with emotion as she spoke.

Rima Shahid with the Muslim Alliance of Indiana says many Muslims across the country live in fear of a rising tide of hate.

"We hope and party that new elected officials and administrations that take office in January will be guided to preserve our constitutional liberties," she said.

One of the things the panel agreed upon is that they'd like to see a hate crime law established in Indiana. Right now, the state is one of only a handful who don’t have one.

Leaders also said in order for law enforcement to effectively pursue these crimes, they have to be reported.

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