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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Maryland Launches ‘Emmett Till Alerts’ to Signal Hate Crimes

It’s intended to work the same as an Amber Alert but with categories to describe the severity of the crime.

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Vandalized BLM sign outside The Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church in Odenton, Md.
Vandalized BLM sign outside The Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church in Odenton, Md.
Screenshot: CBS News Baltimore (Fair Use)

Maryland created a new alert system to track down racist incidents and other hate crimes, according to CBS News. The “Emmett Till Alert” will be modeled after the Amber Alert and notify Black leaders in the state of any racially motivated crimes. The initiative comes after a string of attacks on Black Maryland churches.

Kingdom Celebration Center was targeted recently with racist graffiti that read, “N****r in jail,” according to WTOP News. This was the ninth vandalism attack targeted at a church since May, the report said. Inside that church is where they announced the launch of the Emmett Till Alerts, aimed at catching the culprits responsible for these previous incidents.

We have to take hate crimes, terrorist threats, seriously,” said Anne Arundel County civil rights leader Carl Snowden, a , via WTOP. “Every member of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus… will be advised whenever there’s a hate crime anywhere in the state of Maryland.”

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More on the Emmett Till Alerts from WTOP:

“Today is a good day,” said Bishop Antonio Palmer, who leads Kingdom Celebration Center in Gambrills, where the announcement was made. He’s also the president of the United Black Clergy in Maryland. “We have a long way to go. This also proves to us that we have to protect ourselves.”

Other Black elected leaders around the state will also be invited to join the network of alerts, as will leaders in national civil rights organizations and members of black clergy leaders. For now, it’s invite-only, but Snowden said he expects the system will be expanded in the future.

“If we have an incident that has occurred and we’ve alerted all of the leadership throughout the state of Maryland, we’ll have the ability to be able to have a rapid response” and brainstorm the right response, Snowden said.

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Snowden says he suspects the system will be replicated on a national scale. Luckily, states like California and New York have already developed software for tracking and reporting hate crimes. Maryland’s system will allow people to describe the crime they report by three levels, Level 3 being the most severe in the case of violence or murder.

If only there was something like this around the time Emmett was kidnapped and murdered. Back then, the powers that be would barely bat an eye if someone reported a hate crime. Every time a law or initiative is named after Till, it brings back the eery truth that his killing is still relevant because the evils of Jim Crow never truly vanished.

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“When the FBI director said often that the greatest domestic terrorism threat is white supremacists, we should take that very, very seriously,” said Snowden, per CBS News.