As they have done each year, our Commissioner on Human Rights, Constance Frazier, and the Commission on Human Rights recently detailed their short and long-term strategies to combat crimes of hate, racism, violence, bias and vandalism here in Rockland.
I stood in full support of their efforts and echo their call to action. We in government do not have all of the answers. We realize that this cannot be a top down governmental approach we need our entire community to help us in this process from the County Legislature and elected officials to the average person who is usually focused on the day to day of their busy lives.
Commissioner Frazier has begun meeting with local officials and will soon be sitting down with schools and community, religious and ethnic groups to hear their needs, concerns, ideas and recommendations first-hand. The information gathered from these meetings will help develop topics of discussion and strategies for our upcoming yearly Human Rights Symposium.
The annual Symposium will be held at 6:30 pm, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the Cultural Arts Center at Rockland Community College, 145 College Road, Suffern, NY. I strongly urge all of you to attend and get involved in these efforts.
In addition to these meetings, we are making other efforts to help protect every resident of Rockland County. The Governor has set aside $45 million through the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant program. Our grant writer from Millennium Strategies has outlined the details of this grant program. We have begun distributing this information through the Human Rights Commission to all non-profit non-public schools, day care centers, community centers, cultural museums and residential camps which demonstrate a risk of a hate crime due to their ideology, beliefs or mission can apply for this funding.
We have also submitted a Human Rights Law to the Rockland County Legislature. I look forward to working with the Legislature to pass a law that reflects the needs of our residents. The Law we submitted was been vetted and approved by our Human Rights Commission, Commissioner and the County Law Department.
As the leader of this County, I want to be clear this is not a Rockland issue, this is something we face across our state and country. Let us not forget fact that the suspect who allegedly committed this heinous crime on Hanukkah came from another County to attack members of our Jewish Community.
There must be involvement from every corner of our county; no longer can any community not be a part of these important conversations. We are relying on you to help us create and implement substantive plans and make sure that the good heartedness present in so many here in Rockland is properly recognized. That will be our foundation going forward.
Over the past few weeks, I, along with my executive staff and Human Rights Commissioner, have spent much time engaging members and leaders in the various constituency groups that make up our county. I believe that outreach and interaction has been positive.
The common thread in all those conversations has been the need to do better in meeting with and learning about others. Breaking down those barriers, real or perceived and interacting with an open mind and heart while knowing that there is much, much more that joins us than divides us. I know in my heart that when we focus on that absolute fact, when we make the effort, that we can do better together.