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Eradicate Hate Global Summit's Opening Day Features Keynote Speakers George W. Bush And Tom Ridge

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Nearly three years after America's deadliest anti-Semitic attack in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh is hosting the inaugural Eradicate Hate Global Summit this week.

The summit is bringing together dozens of keynote speakers, experts and victims of hate from across the nation, including right here in Pittsburgh.

"The Tree of Life massacre was a tragic manifestation of violence, bigotry and hate. But of course, it is far from the only example of people torn apart from acts of hatred," said former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. "You could throw a dart at any map of the world today and it would land on a region affected by hate-based acts of violence."

Eradicate hate global summit
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Both Ridge and former President George W. Bush delivered virtual remarks to kick off the first day of the summit on Monday.

"Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions," Bush said.

The keynote speeches were followed by several break-out panels. They're all talking about two key things: What can we learn from the violence and hate that already happened and how can we stop future acts of hate?

Mark Nordenberg co-chairs the summit and says Pittsburgh just made sense for a host city.

"First, the people of Pittsburgh had responded in such a memorable way to the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue and we have other strengths here in Pittsburgh too with the universities and experts in the area. So it really did seem as if this was a natural sight to do it," said Nordenberg.

Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Scott Schubert listened in on Monday as well, hoping to learn more about how hate spreads to better combat hate in our communities.

"It's no good here, it's no good anywhere and you have to understand you've got to learn about it, and you've got to step up and help stop it," said Chief Schubert.

Chief Schubert told KDKA his department is still seeing hate crimes in Pittsburgh nearly three years after the Tree of Life shooting.

"We have seen a small increase in it, but one incident is too many incidents in any community. That's why it's important that Pittsburgh Police, the state police, the FBI and our local counterparts all work together to address it," said Chief Schubert.

Another key topic on Monday: What's the role of tech in the fight against hate and extremism?

"You know everybody complains about tech being a spreader of hate. Well if it can spread hate, it ought to be able to help us curtail the spread of hate too," said Nordenberg.

Another two panels Monday discussed how the rule of law and lawyers can help combat hate, both with civil and criminal cases.

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