The Antelope Valley Branch of the NAACP this week conducted a press conference denouncing the distribution of “hate literature” in the form of fliers and leaflets tossed around Lancaster and Palmdale on or about Dec. 11 and 27.
Although the culprits remain anonymous, officials from both cities as well as deputies from the Sheriff’s department attended the meeting to show solidarity in a firm stance to not tolerate community disruption.
“There were many community leaders there as well as law enforcement to tell these persons that hate mongering will not be tolerated here,” said Rev. V. Jesse Smith, president of the Antelope Valley NAACP.
The material distributed in Lancaster said “F*k Nrs,” “Fk Mandela-loving Nrs,” while the Palmdale leaflets declared “We Hate Nrs.”
To date, Sheriff’s officials have no leads but are investigating the incidents as a possible violation of hate crime statutes.
“We’ve worked too long for peaceful relations in the Antelope Valley, and we will not be intimidated,” Smith said. “We are asking residents that if they see more of this kind of garbage, please tell us and call the Sheriff’s Department at once.”
These cases of alleged hate crimes are not specifically White on Black. In March 2013 in Palmdale, two boys, ages 13 and 16, were arrested for attacking a 15-year-old Hispanic boy coming home from Cactus Middle School. A video was shot showing at least 10 suspects making racially derogatory statements and beating the teen until he fell to the ground. The YouTube video was discovered by a Palmdale Sheriff’s deputy.
In 2012, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations found that the Antelope Valley ranked second among the County’s eight geographic regions in terms of hate crimes. At that time, the communities of Lancaster, Quartz Hill, Palmdale, Littlerock, Lake Los Angeles, Acton and Gormon had a total of 35 hate crimes. About half of these incidents were racially motivated, with African Americans the most frequent target (60 percent),although the commission said a greater percentage of these incidents were said to be perpetrated by gang members.
California state law defines a hate crime as an incident that demonstrates bias, hatred or prejudice against a victim’s gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation.