Newswire : Vanishing Joshua Trees: Climate Change will ravage US National Parks, study says

 By Emily Holden, Guardian UK

 

Joshua Tree National Park

America’s national parks have warmed twice as fast as the US average and could see some of the worst effects of climate change, according to a new study. Most of Joshua Tree National park could become uninhabitable for its eponymous trees, glaciers will continue to melt away at Glacier national park, and many other of America’s most treasured beauty spots could be rendered virtually unrecognizable by climate change, Patrick Gonzalez, the lead author of the study, writes in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Even the tiniest of creatures are at risk in the worst-case predictions: the American pika, a small alpine mammal, may no longer be able to survive on park land. “We are preserving the most remarkable ecosystems, and they happen to be in extreme environments,” said Gonzalez, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. Gonzalez is also the principal climate change scientist for the US National Park Service but conducted and spoke about the research in his university capacity. The study finds that temperatures in national parks could go up 3 to 9C by 2100, under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case scenario, which shows what could happen without policies to decrease greenhouse gas pollution. With lower emissions, temperatures could still increase more than 2C (3.6F) for 58% of park land, compared to 22% of the US as a whole, according to the study. They are particularly vulnerable because most US park land is in areas that are heating up quicker: in the mountains, the Arctic and the dry south-west. Alaska parks would see the most extreme heat increases, and the US Virgin Islands parks face 28% less rainfall by the end of the century. In Glacier Bay national park, the Muir Glacier melted 640 meters between 1948 and 2000. In Yellowstone national park, trees are dying because bark beetles are thriving in warmer winters. Yellowstone will also become far more vulnerable to wildfires. The area burned could be up to three to 10 times higher by 2100. Joshua Tree national park in California could lose up to 90% of the habitat suitable for its namesake trees. Gonzalez explained that parks at a higher elevation have a thinner atmosphere that warms faster. Higher temperatures are also melting snow cover and making the ground darker so that it absorbs more heat. Parks in California and the south-west US have seen both high temperatures and record-low rainfall, he said. The research is the first comprehensive look at climate change impacts on national parks, Gonzalez said. He said he has been using the climate impacts research to develop plans for parks to adapt and reduce the greenhouse gas pollution they contribute. The Trump administration has rescinded government efforts to slow climate change. The interior department, where the National Park Service is housed, nixed a policy that would have urged management decisions based on science, including climate change research. Park officials in New England scrubbed references to climate change and flooding risks in a report this summer, according to Reveal. The National Park Service did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the study or climate change policies for parks. Jonathan Jarvis, the National Park Service director under Barack Obama who now works at UC Berkeley, said he relied on climate change projections to decide where to relocate and bolster structures in the Everglades national park in Florida, an area that has been hit by hurricanes and faces sea-level rise. Jarvis said he worries that under Trump parks won’t be able to plan long-term for climate change. “The park service manages these assets, these places, for the benefit of the American people, and they should be based on the best available sound science in the long-term public interest, not for some short-term political agenda,” Jarvis said.

Newswire :  Questions remain in Alabama mall shooting

 By Kim Chandler / The Associated Press

Galleria Mall protestors

HOOVER, AL — The father of a Black man killed by a police officer during a shooting at an Alabama mall said his son had a permit to carry a gun for self-defense, adding it was hurtful police initially portrayed his son as the shooter. Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., 21, was fatally shot by the officer responding to the Thanksgiving night shooting that wounded an 18-year-old man and a 12-year-old female bystander. Hoover police initially said they thought Bradford, who was carrying a handgun, was responsible but later retracted that statement. They subsequently said it was unlikely that Bradford had done the shooting. Bradford’s father, Emantic Bradford Sr., speaking Saturday night with The Associated Press, said the family wants to know if there is police body camera footage from the shooting. Police have not confirmed to AP whether such footage exists. Hoover Police Captain Gregg Rector said investigators now believe that more than two people were involved in the initial fight ahead of the shooting, and that “at least one gunman” is still at large who could be responsible. Police said while Bradford Jr. “may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that wounded the 18-year-old victim.” Rector said police regret that their initial statement about Bradford was not accurate and added the shooting remains under investigation. About 200 demonstrators marched Saturday evening through the Riverchase Galleria mall in suburban Birmingham. Bradford’s father called his son “a good kid, a very good kid.” Bradford Sr. said his son had a permit to carry a weapon in self-defense. He said he doesn’t know exactly what happened at the mall but added: “They were so quick to rush to judgment. … I knew my son didn’t do that. People rushed to judgment. They shouldn’t have done that.” Hoover police said Friday morning that the girl was in stable condition.

Newswire:  Oral arguments scheduled for HBCU-Maryland inequality case

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

Students at Maryland HBCU’s protest

A coalition of HBCU students, alumni and others from Maryland are planning to pack the Fourth District Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia next month for oral arguments in a decades-old lawsuit over inequality in public higher education. “We are reaching out and calling on at least 200 HBCU supporters to join us in Richmond on Dec. 11,” said HBCU Matters Chairman, Marvin “Doc” Cheatham. The coalition has chartered buses to leave from each of the four HBCU campuses in Maryland on the morning of the arguments. “The students are very actively advocating on behalf of all four of the HBCUs in Maryland. Morgan State has held two rallies thus far and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore had their Rally Saturday the 17th,” said Zattura Sims-El, one of many advocates for HBCUs in Maryland. “Bowie and Coppin are currently planning rallies for each campus. The students from all four universities are communicating with each other for one purpose and that is the have Gov. Hogan withdraw the appeal, he and only he has the power and authority to do so,” Sims-El said. A coalition of alumni from Maryland’s four HBCUs have been involved in a lawsuit since 2006 with the state. Coalition members argue that Maryland has underfunded Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and allowed other state schools to duplicate their programs, placing pressure on enrollment. Published reports suggest that over the years, the coalition has called for increased funding and merging the University of Baltimore with Morgan State, the state’s largest public historically black school, to achieve parity. A year ago, a federal judge asked the state to remedy the lack of investment in Maryland’s HBCUs, ordering the state to establish a set of new, unique and high-demand programs at each historically black institution, the judge declared. Despite that court order, settlement talks have stalled, and Maryland hasn’t accepted the court-ordered remedies for HBCUs. “While the Maryland HBCU case is still in mediation, due to the State’s refusal to accept the judge’s ruling, the Maryland HBCU Matters Coalition is hard at work,” Cheatham said. In 2013, Judge Catherine Blake, U.S. District Court of Maryland, found the state in violation of 14th Amendment rights of its HBCU students and alumni. Her ruling said Maryland continues to operate vestiges of a de jure system of segregation, specifically by continuing a longstanding practice of duplicating academic programs offered at HBCU’s, rather than investing in making the HBCU programs attractive to a diverse range of students. By June 2017, after initial failed mediation between HBCU advocates and the state of Maryland, Blake ordered parties back into court. In November of 2017, Blake reportedly issued an order providing for an administrator known as a special master to coordinate a comprehensive plan ensuring Maryland’s HBCU’s would be home to high quality academic programs. “The Plan should propose a set of new unique and/or high demand programs at each HBI, taking into account each HBI’s areas of strength, physical building capacity and the programmatic niches suggested by the plaintiff’s experts,” Blake wrote in the November 2017 ruling. According to The Afro, which has covered the story more extensively than any other media outlet, in December 2017, state Attorney General Brian Frosh gave notice that the state would appeal Blake’s ruling.

Frosh, who in prior years urged a mediated resolution to the long-standing HBCU lawsuit, attempted to explain why he’s now extending the legal battle. “It’s my job to defend the state when it gets sued,” Frosh told HBCU protestors who rallied outside his office in the months following the State’s appeal. In January, Gov. Larry Hogan, further complicated the State’s message toward HBCU’s by writing to Del. Cheryl Glenn, former chair of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus (LBC), offering a $100 million-dollar settlement offer, according to The Afro. While the LBC supports HBCU advocates, the Caucus is not an official party to the lawsuit. Hogan’s $100 million proposal would be split between Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, The Afro reported. His settlement offer stipulates a 10-year allocation period and relieves the State of responsibility for court costs. Each institution would receive approximately 2.5 million per school, per year. However, the estimated cost of the Coalition’s Plan to remedy the imbalance in quality academic programming offered at HBCU’s is in the $1-2 billion range. Hogan’s offer also falls short of the $500 million settlement between the State of Mississippi and plaintiffs representing Mississippi’s three public HBCU’s almost 20 years ago, back in 2001, ending higher education desegregation litigation dating back to the 1970’s in that state. “The decision by Frosh to appeal the decision from Federal District Court Judge Blake has elevated this issue to the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit,” said Maryland advocate Brandon F. Cooper. “If that Appeals Court also upholds the District Court decision, Frosh could decide to appeal again and then it lands in the U.S Supreme Court. Any decision from the U.S Supreme Court would impact every HBCU, not just those in Maryland,” said Cooper, a member of the Maryland Republican Party Executive Committee. Cooper said the matter counts as a bipartisan issue and he brought the HBCU attorneys in to testify before the Republican Caucus in the Maryland legislature. “HBCUs have long enjoyed bipartisan support in states, Congress and the White House,” Cooper said. “However, President Donald Trump has sent mixed signals on his continuance of the historically bipartisan support of HBCUs,” he said.

Newswire : Pelosi announces push for staff diversity for new U.S House

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

With the largest Congressional Black Caucus in history along with a historic number of women entering the U.S. House in 2019, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has announced plans for a new emphasis on staff diversity in the U.S. House. The effort will call attention to the ongoing diversity problem on Capitol Hill. Very few senior staff positions on the Senate side are held by Blacks or Latinos. On the House side of Capitol Hill most staff top positions are employed by member of the CBC. “We know that the diversity in our ranks is a strength and a reflection of the American people,” Pelosi wrote to colleagues last week. She is expected to run for Speaker and lead Democrats once again when the new Congress convenes in January. A new House Diversity Initiative would create a permanent office in the House with sufficient staff to help recruit and retain diverse employees according to staff. Much of the pressure over the last few years regarding the diversity issue on Capitol Hill has come as a result of study and effort by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies headed by Spencer Overton. The Joint Center applauded Pelosi’s letter to her Democratic House colleagues emphasizing the importance of staff diversity. The letter featured several Joint Center recommendations. “Leader Pelosi deserves credit for laying down an early marker on the need to take action to increase top staff diversity in Congress,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton. “This is a good start, and we look forward to continuing to work with Leader Pelosi to diversify congressional top staff.” Pelosi’s letter encouraged members of Congress to hire diverse staff. She also announced her hope that the Democratic Caucus would formally adopt the Rooney Rule, which requires interviewing at least one person of color for every top staff position. The top positions, or “senior staff” positions in each congressional office are: chief of staff, legislative director, communications director. “The incoming majority of the U.S. House of Representatives will be the most diverse in our nation’s history,” said Don Bell, Director of the Black Talent Initiative at the Joint Center. “Leader Pelosi’s letter is a good beginning toward the work ahead to ensure that the senior and mid-level staff of the U.S. House reflect the diversity of America.” The Joint Center published a report in September 2018 that found that although people of color account for 38 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only 13.7 percent of the top staffers of the U.S. House of Representatives (161 out of 1174 top staffers). Nine new members of the Black Caucus will likely include Lucy McBath (GA-06), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Lauren Underwood (IL14), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Colin Allred (TX-32), Illhan Omar (MN-08) and Jahanna Hayes (CT-02). There will also likely be five new African American full committee Chairmen and Chairwomen when the new Congress convenes in January.

Griggers returns to work after shooting incident

Greg Griggers, District Attorney for the 17th. Judicial District, encompassing Greene, Sumter and Marengo Counties, was shot outside his office in downtown Demopolis on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 12:45 PM. Former Alabama State Trooper Steven Smith, Jr. who was standing across the street shot at Griggers several times with a shotgun. He was injured in the face when struck with automobile window glass that shattered when the shots were fired. Griggers was taken to the Bryan-Whitfield Hospital in Demopolis but released the next day. Smith was shot by two officers who were with Griggers and had just returned from lunch at Stacey Café, down the street from the office. Steven Smith, Jr. was identified as the same person who in 1996 shot into the Livingston home of 17th Judicial Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway. Smith was fired from the Alabama Department of Public Safety later that year. Demopolis Police Chief Tommy Reese who is investigating the shooting said it was too early to speculate on a motive for the ambush. At a short press conference held Friday, after his release from the hospital, Griggers said, “ I am alive and well and doing good. I want to thank the two officers who responded to my shooting and for saving my life. I and my family will never be able to thank them enough.” Griggers said he would return to work on Monday of this week and continue his work as District Attorney.

Eutaw City Council approves ordinance on political signs

The Eutaw City Council met for its regular meeting Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at City Hall. The Council unanimously approved a resolution adopting a strict ordinance on the display of political signs in the City of Eutaw. The Council also agreed to suspend rules to allow for final approval and publication of the ordinance without a second reading and meeting. The ordinance says in part, “Section 1: No political sign shall be erected, constructed, posted or painted on any utility pole, tree, bench, fence, or awning; nor attached to any city, county, state or federal roadway, directional sign or informational sign. No signs shall be erected, constructed, or posted on any portion of the Greene County Courthouse Square Historic District.” The ordinance goes on to limit signage to the period between qualification and election. There is a penalty of $25.00 per sign, ascribed to the candidate whose name is on the sign and whose sign is left up more than seven days after an election. Councilman Latasha Johnson proposed a resolution to declare the building adjacent to the National Guard Armory, which currently houses Christmas decorations, as surplus so it could be leased to the REACH organization for storing surplus furniture. This furniture is currently stored in a portion of the former Carver Middle School facility, which the City is converting to a civic and youth activities center. Johnson’s resolution was voted down in a vote of 3 to 3 with Mayor Steele, Bennie Abrams and Joe Lee Powell voting against use of the facilities for the community furniture business promoted by REACH, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Christ Temple Church in Eutaw. Johnson said, “My proposal for use of the storage building near the Armory would have brought in some rental money and helped keep this service for low income people in the community. The Mayor is against this REACH service business and wants the furniture out of the school.

A spokesperson for REACH told the Democrat that based on meetings with the Mayor that they have decided to move the furniture out of the school into some warehouse space the group has in Sumter County. “We will try to keep making furniture available through some empty houses we have in our community around our church in Eutaw. The Mayor has not been supportive of any solutions to this problem and had the furniture locked up in the school where it cannot help anyone,” he said. Councilwoman Sheila H. Smith announced that the TS Police Support League, Inc., the operating charity of the Palace Bingo was sponsoring a Community Christmas Party on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at the National Guard Armory. In the Public Comments Section of the meeting, several persons raised concerns about the problems and inaccuracies of the city water bills. Another asked about when the city would have an audit report available for public review and inspection. Mayor Steele invited the public to come at any time to the City Hall to examine the financial statements of the City, which would be provided by the City Clerk. Mayor Steele also indicated that the City staff was reading the water meters and trying to fix those that were not working properly. A Working Session of the Eutaw City Council scheduled for the third Tuesday of the month, November 20, 2018 has been cancelled and not rescheduled.

School board re-elects Branch as President and Zippert as Vice President

At its annual re-organizational meeting held, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, the Greene County Board of Education elected the same officers to serve for the next year: Mr. Leo Branch as President and Dr. Carol P. Zippert as Vice President. The election of board officers was conducted by Attorney Hank Sanders who explained that the officers could be selected through the nomination process or by a motion and second. The latter was selected and the motion to re-elect the current officers was made by board member William Morgan, with a second by board member Carol Zippert. The motion passed on a vote of 3 to 1. Only four of the five school board members were present. The board agreed to maintain its same meeting schedule: Third Monday of each month at 4:30 pm. In his report to the board, Superintendent James Carter announced that the State Department of Education will be conducting a Comprehensive Review of the Greene County School System, which will include a review of all programs. This is a federally mandated review that is routinely conducted of all school systems within a three to five year schedule. The team from the state will review policies, visit classrooms, conduct interviews with administrators, teachers, and other school personnel, students and parents. The Comprehensive Review will be conducted November 26-30, 2018. Dr. Carter also reported that the Greene County School System is one of the first in the state to include a coding program for students. This will enable students to create various robotic instruments and components as well as develop systems by the time they are ready to graduate. In other business, the board approved the following personnel items: Resignations of Cardelia Paige as 5th Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School and Cassandra Burton as Math Teacher at Greene County High School. Employment: Ann Spree as Math Tutor at Greene County High; Elroy Skinner as Math Teacher at Greene County High; and Jacqueline Carter as 5th Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School.

The board approved the following Administrative Services recommended by the superintendent: * Request approval to survey and appraise Birdine School property. * Request approval for Makane Morrow to travel to Howard Computer Technology in Mississippi. * Approval of Contract with West Central Official Association of York, Alabama for Girls Basketball Officials during the 2018 -2019 school term. * Approval of Contract with West Central Official Association of York, Alabama for Boys Basketball Officials during the 2018 -2019 school term. * Request approval of field trip for Debate Team to travel to Kennesaw State University to compete in a 2-day event, March 2019. * Request approval of field trip, for Debate Team, to travel to Mississippi State University, to compete in a 2-day event February 2019. * Approval of Bid for fuel from Pruett Oil Company for Department of Transportation. * Approval of 2.5 % raise for LaVonda Blair, CSFO. * Approval to pay cost of T-Mobile connectivity for students in Greene County School District. Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. The meeting adjourned with no comments from the public.

County Commission re-organizes: Tennyson Smith selected as Chair; Roshanda Summerville selected as Vice Chair

Shown L to R: Greene County Commissioners Lester Brown, Allen Turner, Jr., Roshanda Summerville, Tennyson Smith and Corey Cockrell.

 

At the Greene County Commission’s annual organizational meeting, held Wednesday, Nov.14, 2018, Commissioner Tennyson Smith was selected as Chairperson and newly elected Commissioner Roshanda Summerville was selected as Vice Chairperson. Attorney Hank Sanders, who presided over the process, opened the floor for nominations for Chairperson. Commissioner Corey Cockrell nominated Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. and Commissioner Lester Brown nominated Commissioner Tennyson Smith. Smith received three votes and Turner received 2 votes.

For Vice Chair, Commissioner Turner nominated Commissioner Cockrell and Commissioner Brown nominated Commissioner Summerville. Summerville received four votes and Cockrell received one vote. Following each nomination and vote, Attorney Sanders asked for a motion and second on the selection of officers for the record. Brown moved and Summerville seconded that Smith serve as Chairperson. The vote was again three to two for Smith. Brown moved and Cockrell seconded that Summerville to serve as Vice Chairperson. The vote was four to one for Summerville. The commission approved the second Monday of each month at 6:00 pm as its regular meeting schedule. The Chairperson’s appointment of Commissioners to chair various committees was tabled. The body also agreed to maintain the same designation of bank depositories, with Chairperson Smith and Vice Chairperson Summerville serving as signatories for checks. Smith and CFO Paula Bird will remain as signatories for the safety deposit box. The standard Rules of Procedure were approved. In other business the commission received and approved the finance report and payment of claims as presented by CFO Bird. The following bank balances as of October 18, 2018 were noted: Citizen Trust Bank $2,048,536.88; Merchants & Farmers Bank $4,351,360.62; Bank of New York $358,896.59; Bond Investments $921,428.30. The meeting was adjoined and public comments were invited.

Newswire : Kenyan grassroots activist tapped for major humanitarian prize

 

Nov. 19, 2018 (GIN) – Kennedy Odede started SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities) as a teenager in 2004 with 20 cents and a soccer ball. Growing up in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, he experienced extreme povdedeerty, violence, lack of opportunity, and deep gender inequality. Odede also dreamed of transforming urban slums, from the inside-out. SHOFCO, based in Nairobi, Kenya, provides critical services that disrupt survival mode—giving people the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive. SHOFCO’s programs, which include health care, economic empowerment, and sustainable delivery of clean water through a cutting-edge aerial piping system, are always demand-driven and community led. Through its education programs for girls, SHOFCO empowers the future female leaders who will ultimately transform the structures that keep urban poverty in place. What began as a grassroots movement in Kibera by Kennedy in 2004 has ignited transformation and hope in six Kenyan informal settlements, reaching more than 220,000 people. “The jury’s selection of SHOFCO to receive the 2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize really speaks to the power of local actors,” said Hilton Foundation President and CEO Peter Laugharn. “SHOFCO is a remarkable example of citizen-led change, created by people living in very challenging conditions. As Africa and the world urbanize and more informal settlements are created, SHOFCO provides an inspiring example of local creativity and solutions.” In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Odede wrote: “Flint (Michgan) and Kibera are reminders that the power of politics is the people. The process of organizing will bring forth the leaders who can truly represent their communities and push for change, whether or not those leaders hold political office. “We should look first to our neighborhoods, towns, schools, churches, mosques and temples to identify the leaders who represent our needs and values. Empower them, and the politicians will follow suit.” SHOFCO will receive $2 million in unrestricted funding, joining the list of 22 previous organizations that have received the Hilton Humanitarian Prize over the last two decades including most recently, The Task Force for Global Health and Landesa. For more information, visit www.shofco.org

Newswire: Is the FBI underreporting the surge in hate crimes?

 By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

Graphic on hate crimes

The FBI has released it’s 2017 hate crimes statistics which revealed a 17 percent increase in incidents since 2016. In 2017 there were 8,493 victims and 6,307 known offenders. By comparison there were 7,509 victims and 5,727 known offenders in 2016, according to the data. “This report is a call to action – and we will heed that call,” Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement. “The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes.” The report contrasts with the prior year when there were 6,036 single-bias incidents, or occurrences where the perpetrator has one bias against a community or group. By comparison, in 2017, there were 7,106 single-bias incidents reported. According to the FBI, “58.1 percent were motivated by a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, 22.0 percent were prompted by religious bias, 15.9 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias and 1.7 percent were motivated by gender-identity bias.” “This [report] is shocking and requires Congress’s full attention,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “Shouldn’t this urgent crisis be the subject of the first post-recess Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, instead of ramming through more Trump judges? Our lives are at stake,” Johnson said. Also, some organizations are skeptical of the FBI statistics and say underreporting remains a significant problem in its annual survey. In a statement, the Arab American Institute (AAI) expressed concern and disappointment with the release of the 2017 hate crime statistics. The organization claims that the data contained some glaring omissions, including three of the most severe acts of bias-motivated violence committed last year. And while career officials at the Department of Justice continue to demonstrate a commitment to serving communities and preventing hate crime, officials at the AAI said they remain dissatisfied with the response from this administration. Of 34 reportable bias motivation categories, all but five reported an increase in 2017. With 2,013 incidents reported, “Anti-Black or African American” bias accounted for nearly half of all crimes motivated by race or ethnicity, which rose 18 percent according to the FBI data, while “Anti-American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Anti-Multiple Races, Group,” and “Anti-Hispanic or Latino” hate crimes all increased over 20 percent (251, 180, and 427 incidents, respectively). “Anti-Arab” hate crime, which was reintroduced into the data collections in 201 after the category became “invalid” in 1996 and was eliminated in 2001, increased 100 percent last year, with 102 incidents reported. As for crimes motivated by religion, which increased 23 percent in 2017, “Anti-Jewish” hate crime surged 37 percent, representing a majority with 938 incidents reported. After increasing 67 percent in 2015 and 19 percent in 2016, “Anti-Islamic (Muslim)” hate crime decreased in 2017 but remained well above historical averages with 273 incidents reported. Based on state-level hate crime statistics reported through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system, which the FBI also uses to publish its annual report, the AAI was expecting an increase of crimes motivated by sexual orientation in 2017 statistics. While an increase was reported in the federal data, it was less significant than expected, the organization noted in a statement. Analysis from AAI shows that in multiple states, official state-level data reported a greater number of incidents than what is reported in the FBI’s statistics. Crimes motivated by disability, gender, and gender identity, which are more recent additions to the data collections and generally produce smaller annual totals, were significantly affected by these discrepancies. For example, the Kentucky State Police reported 41 gender-motivated hate crime incidents in official state-level statistics, whereas only 46 incidents were reported nationwide according to the FBI data. Aside from these discrepancies, additional aspects of the 2017 federal data suggest significant underreporting, the most striking of which being the omission of three of the most severe acts of bias-motivated violence committed last year, AAI officials said. According to FBI statistics, the city of Olathe, Kansas, reported no hate crimes, and statewide, zero hate crime murder were reported in 2017. But on February 22, Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot to death in an Olathe bar because of his perceived national origin, according to the AAI. The shooter, Adam Purinton, who also wounded Kuchibhotla’s friend Alok Madasani and another man named Ian Grillot, was convicted on federal hate crime charges. Similarly, neither the May 26 fatal stabbing of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche aboard a train in Portland, Oregon, nor the August 12 killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, is reflected in the federal data. Further, over 300 jurisdictions representing populations of at least 50,000 people reported zero hate crimes in 2017. Of these jurisdictions, 78 represent populations of at least 100,000, and research from AAI found evidence of no fewer than 10 additional major jurisdictions that did not even participate in the data collections. The largest jurisdiction to report zero hate crimes in 2017 was the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which represents a population of over 1.6 million and is one of the nation’s largest police departments in terms of population served. The entire state of Nevada had only three agencies submit incident reports last year, with just five incidents reported statewide. Not including Hawaii, which does not participate in the national hate crime statistics program, 11 additional states had fewer than 10 agencies submit incident reports in 2017. “The reported increase in the FBI’s hate crime statistics warrants concern, as do the discrepancies between state and federal hate crime data, the omission of several high-profile hate crime incidents, and the limited rate of hate crime reporting in some major jurisdictions,” AAI officials said. “The scourge of hate crime continues to harm communities in cities and states across the country. The FBI data confirms the reality we all know: hate is increasing in America,” said Maya Berry, the executive director of the AAI. “The FBI data, in what is missing from it, also demonstrates the hate crime reporting system we have in place is falling to respond adequately to hate crime, and thus inform fully the policy remedies we must make to improve our response to hate,” Berry said. Berry continued: “While we remain grateful to the career professionals at the DOJ, it is clear the Trump Administration has largely abdicated from the stated federal interest of eradicating bias-motivated violence, and the president’s rhetoric has at times appeared to exacerbate its spread. With respect to the recent data release, AAI is disappointed that despite our request, the administration made no attempt to coordinate an event with stakeholders and officials to discuss the annual FBI statistics, as was customary during previous administrations.”