As you (better) know, we do a lot of work on hate crime statistics and data collection, trying to ensure they are counted accurately so we can get a better sense of the true scope of the problem and how to deal with it. The deeper we dive in the numbers and down the bureaucracy rabbit hole, the more distant the human impact of these crimes feels. But an infuriating story out of San Diego recenters the human impact and reminds us why this work is so important. A 17-year-old Syrian refugee was sitting on a trolly on his way home from school, talking to a friend in Arabic on his phone. That’s when a man sitting next to him ripped the earbuds out of his ears and said: “What trash are you speaking?” When the kid answered that he was speaking Arabic, the assailant unleashed what the Washington Post described as a “brutal assault,” punching him in the face five or six times while repeatedly yelling “F&#% Arabs.” The perpetrator pleaded guilty to hate crime and assault charges and will be sentenced next month. Meanwhile, and as AAI Executive Director Maya Berry pointed out in a recent NPR story, the Trump Administration has advanced policies and the President has engaged in rhetoric targeting the same communities that have suffered an increase of hate crime. 

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