National News

Fargo's City Commission comes together to combat hate speech and targeted crime in the metro

Posted August 1

— After recent incidents of hate speech and targeted crime in Fargo, the city is looking at taking extra steps to address the issue..

City commissioners, the Human Rights Commission and community activists are coming together to address a problem they say is plaguing not only Fargo, but the entire state. In the state ranked second in hate crimes per capita - there's almost no resources for victims.

Just a week after a shocking video put Fargo in the national spotlight for hate speech, local leaders are admitting to a problem.

"Are there avenues and vehicles going forward when there are hate crimes and hate speech?" said Fargo's City Commissioner John Strand.

Community leaders say incidents like these two men assaulting a Somali-American are disturbingly common.

"This is the tip of the iceberg- there are many other similar incidents," said community leader Hukun Abdullahi. Some insist the City Commission's discussions on cost of refugee resettlement is fueling tension.

"Much focus was given to the cost- the Fargo city commission is partly to blame for this division," Abdullahi said.

"One of the reasons they don't have members of the community report is is they're afraid," said Barry Nelson of the Human Relations Commission. It is working on solutions. "Develop a rapid response support team to help people and gather data on hate crime in our community," said Nelson.

Some believe new city rules or laws are needed to end the trend.

"We truly have to look at our hate crime legislation," said Fargo mayor Tim Mahoney.

"We plan on looking at what we can do at a city level in terms of ordinances to prevent this," said Rachel Hoffman of the Human Relations Commission.

While still in the preliminary stages of reform, the commission says a more welcoming philosophy would be best for everyone.

"We try to respect the dignity of each other, and elevate each other to the highest level of achievement- we're going to be a better for it.," said Strand.

The Human Relations Commission is co-hosting a community rally against hate and bias crime this Wednesday.

For more information on the rally, visit their Facebook event page.

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