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The IMFC Welcomes L.A. City Fund to Protect Cultural and Religious Institutions

Members of the Board of Governors of the International Multi-Faith Coalition (The I.M.F.C.) congratulate Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu as he announced a grant program to help protect religious institutions, cultural centers and LGBTQ spaces in his Hollywood-area district.

The program responds to a drastic increase in the number of hate-incidents in places of worship. The most recent Southern California shooting occurred in a Poway Jewish Synagogue, killing one and injuring three on April 27. In June, a man disrupted a Sunday church service in the San Fernando Valley by pacing and performing Nazi salutes. Amanda Susskind, Los Angeles regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said anti-Semitic incidents were up by 57% nationwide in 2016-17.

The fund will supply up to $3,000 in grant money for each organization that qualifies. The intent is to help recipients fund security improvements and training at spaces that serve vulnerable and diverse communities.

“I have watched with growing concern as hate crimes targeting our LGBTQ community, our immigrant communities and our many houses of worship rise across our country and across Los Angeles,” Ryu said. “We are not immune to a rising tide of hate, and it demands that we step up and protect every Angeleno, no matter what they look like, how they pray or who they love.”

The grants will be paid for with Council District Four discretionary funds, and therefore only organizations located within the district can apply. Though the total amount of money available is unclear at this time because discretionary funding amounts change from year to year, officials with Ryu’s office said there could be enough funding for all requests depending on the demand.

“This may be a small step, but it could make the difference in a local institution being able to afford new security cameras or train new staff members. I encourage all faith and cultural institutions of Council District Four to apply,” Ryu said.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved a report from the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as for instructions to improve the tracking, reporting and proactive response to hate crimes.

The report noted a total of 254 hate crimes were reported in Los Angeles in 2017, a 10.9% increase over the 229 crimes motivated by hate that were reported in 2016. Preliminary data showed a 5% increase in 2018 over 2017, Ryu’s office said.



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