NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday as part of an anti-hate rally.
The march comes as the Jewish community finds itself at the center of a number of recent hate crimes.READ MORE: New Pop-Up COVID Vaccination Sites Open Across New York, Signs Of Normalcy Returning To City
“No hate, no fear” is the main message of the rally. It kicked off around 11 a.m. at the starting point in Foley Park. Thousands of marchers made their way across the Brooklyn Bridge in unity and solidarity.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo attended the event and said he was “heartened to see this amazing show of support and solidarity.”
At the march, the governor said he planned to propose a new state law that would label hate crimes as domestic terrorism.
“As soon as the Legislature comes back I’m going to propose a new law for the state of New York that calls this hate what it is – it is domestic terrorism,” Cuomo said.
“These are terrorists and it should be punished as such.”
Cuomo also said the state would increase the state police force and hate crimes task force presence in vulnerable communities.
The state is also making an additional $45 million available to non-public schools and religious institutions for security.
“While we’re here today in the spirit of solidarity and love, government must do more than just offer thoughts and prayers. Government must act. This is illegal and it is government’s responsibility to protect the people of the state of New York, and the state government will be doing just that,” Cuomo said.READ MORE: Brooklyn Couple Hospitalized After Stabbing In Bushwick, Police Investigating
Sen. Chuck Schumer also spoke before the march and rally, saying, “We will not only speak and march, but we will act.”
The senator announced he is introducing legislation that would protect houses of worship.
“They need to be protected, and so our proposal, we were able to get a $30 million increase in a grant to protect houses of worship last year. I am now proposing that it quadruple to $360 million,” he said. “That will allow our houses of worship to fortify themselves with cameras and gates and strong doors and will allow them to hire security so that they can protect themselves.”
Schumer said he is also proposing that the federal government spend $100 million to help coordinate with local police groups to fight hate crimes.
“Many of our local police groups don’t have the expertise that the federal government has to do just that, and if we fight hate crimes and we can go after those who perpetrate them and those who encourage them and act on them, we can do a lot of good,” he said.
The march concluded with a rally in Columbus Park, where many members of the community and community leaders spoke.
The NYPD says there have been at least 14 reported anti-Semitic attacks in the last two weeks.
Officers are now looking into another possible hate crime in Brooklyn.
Police say a group of three people walked into a Kosher Bagel store on Avenue M and East 18th Street on Friday and made threatening anti-Semitic remarks.
The suspects were taken into custody, but no one has been charged at this time.
The NYPD hate crime unit is now investigating.
Meanwhile, police say there were 423 hate crimes in the city in 2019.MORE NEWS: Senate Moves Forward With Stimulus Bill Marathon After Nearly 12 Hour Stalemate
The majority of those hate crimes were anti-Semitic in nature, but many groups were targeted, for reasons including religion and sexual orientation.