Montgomery Co. council leader plans to create ‘anti-hate’ task force to combat rise in antisemitic acts

Following recent reports of vandalism, including in multiple schools, the president of the Montgomery County, Maryland, council wants to form a task force to tackle the incidents that he described as “disturbing and frightening.”

Council President Evan Glass said in a letter to County Executive Marc Elrich that the task force would “promote safety and combat hate crimes,” including those targeting Black, Asian American, Latino, religious and LGBTQ+ communities.

“As a Jew and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I know the fear and pain many of our neighbors are experiencing,” Glass said.

Antisemitic graffiti and materials have been reported at several Montgomery County schools in the past several months, most recently at an elementary school in Bethesda on Monday. Additionally, the Maryland school system reported nine other incidents of antisemitic acts.

Glass said that the most recent report on bias incidents in the county found 143 incidents in 2021, which he said was the highest number in nearly a decade.

Of the 79 that were race-based, 61% were anti-Black, and 20.3% were anti-Asian. Of the 34 spurred by religious bias, 85.3% were anti-Jewish, “despite residents of Jewish faith making up only 10% of the population,” Glass said.

Glass said the Justice Department has funding, training and technical assistance for state and local agencies and community organizations to help with the rise in crimes on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

“All residents should feel a sense of inclusion and connection, not alienation, when they travel around our beautifully diverse community,” Glass said.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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