The Leon County Commission voted unanamously to adopt a resolution proposed by the adoption of an Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) resolution condemning hate and extremism at the June 8th meeting.
Responding to concerns that the resolution does not address hate related to Christianity, County Commissioner Kristen Dozier said she believed that the resolution covers all religions.
The resolution specifically addresses antisemitism and hate directed at Islam, however does not address hate related to Christianity.
Origins of Request
Recently, the ADL contacted the County about adopting a resolution their group created condemning hate and extremism in response to the attack on the national’s Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The ADL is an international nonprofit and anti-hate organization founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry. The ADL’s mission statement is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”
At the February 25, 2020 meeting, at the request of the Tallahassee-Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, the Board approved a resolution for Leon County Government to join the ADL’s Florida Hate Crime Coalition. The Coalition was established in 2016 to support state legislation that would expand the definition of hate crimes by adding gender and gender identification to Florida Statutes governing the identification and prosecution of hate crimes.
The Leon County staff analysis of the ADL request states that “ADL is requesting that local government bodies denounce the attack on the national’s Capitol on January 6, 2021 as an act of ‘domestic terrorism’ and reaffirm a commitment to cultivating an inclusive community, including within the County’s operations and institutions.”
In condemning the attack, the ADL cites its 2019 report “Murder and Extremism” in the United States which found that 90% extremist-related murders were linked to right-wing extremists, with the majority committed by white supremacists.
The ADL further links the attack on the Capital to online conspiracy theories, such as QAnon, that aim to spread and inspire real-world violence. Consequently, the proposed resolution includes language denouncing the following:
•anti-government extremism, white supremacy, racism, antisemitism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-LGBTQ+ hate, ableism, and all hateful speech and bias-motivated violent actions in our community;
•extremist conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation that cultivate an alienated and mistrustful electorate, undermine democratic institutions and processes, and increase the likelihood of violence; and
•attempts to exploit governmental procedure and basic government functions for personal political gain
In addition to denouncing the attack on the Capitol and the contributing factors as identified by the ADL, the resolution commits the Board to the following actions:
•countering hate and extremism by offering an ongoing public lecture series on anti-bias and anti-racist strategies;
•countering hate and extremism through engagement with community leaders, governmental transparency and public information-sharing regarding efforts to fight extremism, and encouraging the investigation and prosecution of those who commit criminal acts, consistent with civil liberties protections; and
•Urging residents to adopt these values in their own lives, calling attention to these harms, and denouncing hate and extremism to help keep us all safe.
Staff notes that no Florida counties have adopted ADL’s resolution. However, the resolution has been adopted by several cities including Bay Harbor Islands, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, and Sunny Isles Beach.