Incidents of prejudice in NJ hit record high in 2021 with sharp rise towards Asian transgender people

Incidents involving prejudice in New Jersey rose by nearly a third last year compared to 2020, new figures from prosecutors show.

Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said there were 1,871 incidents of harassment, assault or other forms of intimidation against people because of their race, ethnicity, religion or gender identity in 2021 – reflecting a rise in hate and prejudice incidents nationally.

He attributed the surge to better ways to report prejudice – which can now be done electronically – and divisive rhetoric.

“There is no question that the rhetoric surrounding these groups, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic for anti-Asian incidents, is contributing, and those words are not empty,” Platkin said. “There are people on the ground who listen to them and act on them. And sadly, we are seeing this translate to an increase in hate and prejudice incidents in New Jersey.”

Preliminary figures for 2021 show that Asians and transgender people saw the largest spikes in targeted incidents, with increases of 87% and 171%, respectively, from 2020. Incidents against black people accounted for 39% of the incidents, the most for any group, while Jews were the most affected religious group.

“New Jersey proudly boasts one of the most diverse states in the country, and we made it clear that hate has no home here,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

The AG’s office also released its final report on incidents of prejudice for 2020. It also noted a spike in incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic, backlash against the Black Lives Matter protests and the 2020 presidential election. Those factors likely contributed to the 2021 incidents, officials said.

“We need to better come together, talk to each other, and educate communities about how to interact with one another,” Platkin said. His office will use $1 million in federal funding to raise public awareness about reporting incidents of bias and to standardize the investigation of those incidents, he added.

“We know this is a snapshot,” Platkin said. “It’s not the entire universe of incidents of prejudice in the state of New Jersey. It’s just what we reported. As such, we will continue to engage extensively, particularly with groups that may not be reporting all of their incidents.”

Residents may report or call bias incidents online at 800-277-BIAS. Incidents of prejudice in NJ hit record high in 2021 with sharp rise towards Asian transgender people

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