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New hotline to report white supremacist activity has received more than 2 dozen calls

Rachael Rollins promotes hotline to report hate, white supremacy
Rachael Rollins promotes hotline to report hate, white supremacy 02:17

By Courtney Cole, WBZ-TV

BOSTON - As leadership and law enforcement work to figure out the most effective way to combat white supremacy activity in Boston, this will be the first full week, residents will have a new resource: The "End H8 Now" hotline at 1-83-END-H8-NOW (1-833-634-8669.)

It was first launched last Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins of the District of Massachusetts. And on Sunday, NSC-131 gathered again - this time in The Seaport.

Patty Bourrée has been leading Drag Queen Story Hour for kids – every other Sunday – this summer.

"What we're out here to promote, while we do the events, is literacy and expression, creativity and self-love," Bourrée said.

She said it allows a safe space for queer families to be exactly who they are.

"There is certainly an element of wanting to go in and be queer role models for kids that might not get to see that," Bourrée explained.

But this last Sunday, August 7, story hour was canceled after White Supremacy group NSC-131 showed up outside of Paseo in The Seaport.

"I certainly was not surprised to see them again," Bourrée told WBZ.

Bourrée's first encounter was during their protest outside of a story hour At the Loring Greenough House in July.

"I just felt the safest thing was to call off the event and have the families go home," she said.

While that was a temporary solution, Rollins is hoping to stop white supremacist activity– on a larger scale with the launch of her new "End H8 Now" hotline.

"We've already had two dozen calls. We turned on this hotline late Wednesday afternoon. I think we have up to 27 calls we've received and counting. And again, I get a notification every time. That means there's an appetite for this, that people are utilizing this," Rollins said.

Bourrée said she's never heard of the hotline before, so WBZ's Courtney Cole shared it with her and asked Rollins what's being done to promote it.

"We are also going to be notifying all of our community engagement partners, through all of the different communities, allies, as well as impacted communities. We want this out as far as possible as we can. Because I would rather know about the hotline number and never use it, than not know about it and maybe not make a call," Rollins said.

The hotline has been launched in English, Spanish, Cantonese and French. Rollins said they're still exploring to see if adding other languages will be helpful as well.

"I want to be honest, there are some people, of the 25, two-plus dozen calls that we've gotten --there are some legitimate things that people are talking about. But there are some people who are unhappy with the fact that we've set the number up and we understand that as well," Rollins said.

The U.S. Attorney told WBZ the information is passed on to law enforcement.

"I want to make sure we're stressing, if you are in fear or danger--always call 911. We allow people to call anonymously, but the overwhelming majority of people have left their name and phone number," Rollins said.

In the press release for the launch of the hotline, the U.S. Attorney said, "Protecting Massachusetts residents from violence and hate is the top priority of my administration." It led Cole to ask Rollins why she chose to go with a hotline.

"I think what's great about a hotline: it's catchy, you can remember it. END H8 Now. 1-8-3-END-H8-Now. And also, it's a recording. You don't have to speak to anyone. No one picks up that number. You get to leave a message," Rollins said.

Right now, Bourrée told Cole they are taking the time to re-group and figure out the safest way to offer story time to kids and their families.

"We are really trying to move forward and working with queer defense groups, working with other artists and hopefully groups that are interested in making sure that this work can continue," Bourrée told Cole.

Rollins said the big thing that she wants for people to know that they are a part of the solution. 

"What I want is people engaged--I want us to be able to hopefully disrupt the next, either certainly crime or hate incident," Rollins said.

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