BALTIMORE -- Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced $1 million in additional emergency state funding for hate crime prevention grants.
According to the governor's office, Maryland organizations that serve protected classes and religious institutions are eligible for funding to hire security personnel for their facilities and membership through a new grant from the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services.
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again—in Maryland, we do not, and we will never, tolerate hatred. Not toward Muslims. Not toward Jews. Not toward Christians. Not toward anyone," Gov. Moore said. "Safety is my number one priority as governor and my administration remains steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that all Marylanders feel safe in their homes and in their communities."
Eligible organizations may seek up to $40,000 in competitive grant funding through the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services to protect themselves against hate crimes.
The agency currently administers Maryland's Protection Against Hate Crimes grant, which provides funding for support and security enhancements for eligible non-profits and faith-based organizations annually, according to a press statement.
Fowler United Methodist Church in Annapolis is a recipient of a prior grant to improve safety.
The church was one of four Anne Arundel County churches vandalized last summer.
"We lost every bible, every hymnal was ripped," Rev. Jerome A. Jones, Sr. said. "We had a cross that was ripped off the wall."
Fowler UMC used grant money to improve windows, doors, and a security camera system.
Membership at the 152-year-old church increased.
"When people are coming in, they feel safe. They do remember the horror that has occurred," Rev. Jones said. "When I heard (news of the emergency funding grants), I was ecstatic, because we had experienced hate here at this local church."
The governor's office says this infusion of resources comes amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, which has spurred a dramatic increase in hate crimes and hate incidents against both Jewish and Muslim communities in the United States.
"To the faith communities across the state who feel increasingly concerned for their safety, Governor Moore and I see you, we hear you, and we will always fight for the safety of all Marylanders," said Maryland Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller. "We are committed to rooting out violence and hate, including by providing faith-based and nonprofit institutions with the resources they need to ensure the safety of their members and congregations."
This funding will support a series of initiatives to prevent hate crimes, including $6.3 million to protect against hate crimes and to enhance local police recruitment and retention efforts through the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services.
"Because it's emergency funding, it's available right now," said Arinze Ifekauche, from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. "Given the terrorist attacks that happened on October 7, nationally, we've seen huge spikes in hate crimes."
Nonprofits are also eligible for the funding, as many were awarded similar grants recently, like the Hearing and Speech Agency of Metropolitan Baltimore.
"The PAHC grant allows us to outfit our 20-year-old building with modern, evidenced-based technology that ensures we are doing everything possible to provide a safe environment for our students, patients, and team members. Providing a physically and psychologically safe space is fundamental to the mental and physical health of our community, and it is exciting to learn that more groups will be afforded this opportunity," HASA CEO Erin Lamb said.
Organizations interested in applying for the Emergency Assistance to Secure Against Hate Crimes grant funding may do so at www.goccp.maryland.gov/grants. Funding will open Tuesday November 28 and will close on January 10, 2024.
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