If you saw a person in your neighborhood yelling racial insults at a woman, what would you do?
What would you do if you saw someone trying to run another car, driven by a woman of a different ethnicity and carrying three young children, off the road?
How would you feel if you were out for a walk with your family and the police stopped you and ask where you were going, based only on what you were wearing and how you looked?
What would you do if your local convenience store was torched because the owner was different?
What would you do to stop hate crimes was the subject of a March 27 town hall meeting at the Anoka Technical College (ATC).
The town hall meeting was a way for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to gather ideas, suggestions and thoughts on what people can do in response to the Jan. 27 suspected arson of the Blaine Dairy Store, 385 109th Ave., Blaine, according to Chris Schumacher, chapter coordinator and Blaine resident.
CAIR uses town hall meetings to raise awareness of hate crime issues, Schumacher said.
And the more people who are aware of hate crimes, the more pressure can be placed on law enforcement to investigate the fire and bring the suspects to justice, he said.
“It’s important these people be brought to justice,” Schumacher said.
According to Schumacher, the meeting was also meant to give people an understanding of what is happening in the community and provide an opportunity for the community to move forward under the umbrella of mutual respect and understanding.
Vandalism to homes, threats and other hate-filled incidents happen to ethnic and religious minorities across America and in Anoka County, he said.
“We would like to think that these types of atrocities are not happening in our backyard, but unfortunately they are,” said Schumacher, who grew up in Wisconsin and converted to Islam in college.
“We have to collectively take constructive steps to find realistic solutions.” (MORE)


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