April 21, 2014 (San Diego)-- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber convenes the second of four hearings of the Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate at the Educational Cultural Complex in San Diego, California on Friday, April 25 from 12-3 p.m.
By Miriam Raftery
November 9, 2012 (El Cajon)—Shaima Alawadi died a violent death in her El Cajon home, suffering multiple skull fractures. A note found next to her body told her to “go home” to her native Iraq, sparking fears in the community that the young Muslim mother of five may have been the victim of a hate crime.
But today, El Cajon Police Chief Jim Redman announced that the victim’s husband, Kassim Alhimidi, has been arrested and charged with her murder.
By Miriam Raftery
March 25, 2012 (El Cajon ) – The body of Shaima Alawadi, the 32-year-old Iraqi mother of five who died following a brutal attack in El Cajon last week, will be flown to Iraq for burial. The Detroit Free Press reports that her father, Sayed Nabeel Alawadi, a Shia cleric, confirmed that the Iraqi government will pay for the shipping expense.
Her murder has sparked outrage around the globe--and a show of solidarity among students in distant places.
January 17, 2011 (Rancho Penasquitos) – Vandals spray-painted swastikas and “666” (numbers symbolizing the devil) on at least 14 vehicles early this morning, also defacing property at Hilltop Community Park, Black Mountain Middle School, and Sunset Hills Elementary School. A witness reports seeing two white teens spray painting in the area around 1 a.m., the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Another source indicates they were driving a green car.
“It’s disturbing and shameful,” said Kevin Keenan, San Diego director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
January 1, 2011 (Lakeside) – An argument that began with racial slurs resulted in a fight involving 30 to 40 people shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve. The brawl ended with multiple injuries and five arrests in Lakeside.
By Miriam Raftery
August 13, 2010 (El Cajon) – The Center for Social Advocacy in El Cajon has been awarded the Organizational Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Socioeconomic Status. The award recognizes CSA’s dedication and leadership on behalf of poverty and socioeconomic issues.
By Miriam Raftery
November 1, 2009 (Washington D.C.) – Last week, President Barack Obama signed a defense budget bill which contains language to broaden the definition of hate crimes to include attacks based on gender, sexual orientation, or disability—adding to protections already in place for attacks based on race, religion or national origin. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act also creates a new federal crime for attacking U.S. military personnel because of their service.
News of the signing was hailed locally by Estela de los Rios, who led efforts to organize a Hate Crimes Conference recently in El Cajon. “I rejoice and embrace this grand victory,” de los Rios told East County Magazine. “Passing this bill will only strengthen and support the civil rights of all.”
D.A. FILES MISDEMEANOR CHARGES IN DEERHORN VALLEY CASE: NO HATE CRIME OR ASSAULT CHARGES FILED DESPITE RACIAL SLURS & VIOLENT BEATING OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEEN
Victim’s Mother Accuses Sheriff of “Dropping the Ball” on Investigation, Considers Lawsuit
By Miriam Raftery
Update October 2013: Jerry Arnold has contacted ECM to advise that charges against him were reduced to distrubing the peace with loud music, for which he paid a find. Arnold also shared his side of the story. "I was executor of the estate. I hadn't been around for nine years. I told the kids they couldn't have a party, but they had it anyway...When police got here, I was breaking up the party. My son who had the party, I threw him out of the house...To say that I was contributing to minors' drinking couldn't be farther from the truth." Arnold told ECM he knew nothng about the assault on Chris Jones, which did not occur on the property. He insists that he is not prejudiced and that three of his close family members have black partners or spouses. He added that when he asked all party guests to leave and did not single out those who were black. Johnson claims he was innocent of all charges but could not afford an attorney, so accepted the plea bargain offer.
October 9, 2009 (Deerhorn Valley) – The San Diego County District Attorney (D.A.) has filed three counts of misdemeanor charges in the case of an African-American teenager severely beaten by a group of white men last April at a party in Deerhorn Valley, near Jamul. The home was in probate; the representative of the estate, Jerry Arnold Jr., was charged with allowing minors to drink; his son and a juvenile were charged with vandalizing the victim's car.
Denise Brown, mother of the victim, is outraged that no charges of assault or hate crimes were filed. “The Sheriff dropped the ball on this investigation, big-time,” Brown told East County Magazine following a hate crimes summit in El Cajon last week. “Those men beat my son. They smashed the car windows. They tried to burn the vehicle with him inside. There were boot prints and hand prints all over the car, but the Sheriff’s Department had it towed and never even took prints.”
Estela de los Rios, Organizer of Oct. 1st Hate Crimes Summit in El Cajon
By John Falchi
ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this story
September 25, 2009 (El Cajon)--Estela de Los Rios is leading an effort that will bring a Hate Crimes Summit sponsored by United for A Hate Free San Diego forum to El Cajon’s Ronald Reagan Community Center On Thursday October 1, 2009. In this exclusive interview with East County Magazine, she shared details about shocking hate crimes in our community, including many in local schools. She also shared personal insights into the hardships and challenges that have steeled her resolve to achieve reforms.
$10,000 REWARD OFFERED
September 4, 2009 (Vista) – Vista is not in East County. But an arsonist anywhere in our County poses a threat to us all. One spark on a windy day can spread a fire far beyond its origins.
San Diego County Sheriff's Vista detectives and Crime Stoppers seek the public’s help to find an arsonist who torched public vehicles, causing $50,000 in damage. Authorities also seek vandals who sprayed racist/hate graffiti, including swastikas, on public vehicles and buildings at 1790 Shadowridge Drive in Vista, a fenced yard owned by the City of Vista. Below is a description from Crimestoppers:
May 9, 2009 (Washington D.C.)--The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed H.R. 1913 by a vote of 249 to 175 on April 29. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate on April 28. If enacted, the bill would close gaps in a current law that authorizes federal aid in cases of hate crimes committed because of a person's race, color, religion or national origin. The new legislation would extend protection against violence to Americans targeted because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
May 10, 2009 (La Mesa) La Mesa’s City Council will consider adopting a “Hate Free La Mesa” Declaration at its meeting on Tuesday, May 12th at 4 p.m.The measure has been presented by a member of United for Hate Free San Diego, a coalition of 52 faith-based and community organizations county-wide.
By Miriam Raftery
May 9, 2009 (La Mesa)—“There is an alarming increase in hate crimes in the United States,” James McElroy, chairman of the board for the Southern Law & Poverty Center (SLPC), told members and guests at the La Mesa –Foothills Democratic Club on May 6th. “We try to shine a little light on it. Hate is like a fungus under a rock. Shine a light and you can eradicate it.”
A new SLPC report found 926 hate groups nationally in 2008—a 54% increase since 2000 and a 4% rise since 2007. California has 84 hate groups, more than any other state—and most are in Southern California. Immigration tensions, a faltering economy, and election of the first African-American president are fueling the rise, along with an "alarming mainstreaming" of hate speech and racism in the mass media, McElroy believes. (View an interactive map to learn which hate groups are in your area: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp#s=).
April 26, 2009 (La Mesa)--Jim McElroy, Chairman of the Board, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), will speak on the rise in hate crimes in America during the May 6th meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club. A recent report from the SPLC shows a 50% rise in the number of hate groups in the United States. According to the SPLC, California is home to 84 hate groups, there are 4 hate groups in San Diego, and one in Lakeside.