Flashpoint Extra: Looking at acts of hate in Philly after Jussie Smollet attack

Flashpoint
January 31, 2019 - 4:00 am
Rainbow flag.

Dreamstime

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The possible hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett  the "Empire" star was allegedly beaten and had a noose tied around his neck earlier this week in Chicago  evoked strong reaction from Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community.

Here is a look at the city’s statistics for acts of hate and bias.

"Everybody just needs to take all of these situations seriously," said Rue Landau, executive director of Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. She says the city of Philadelphia has seen a uptick in hate crimes and acts of bias since the 2016 presidential election.

According to their database, from November 2016 through Dec. 1, 2018, the city received 193 reports. In 2018, the city recieved 16 reports related to anti-LGBTQ incidents.

"Everyone has to be cautious," warned Landau.

Jussie Smollett, who is an African-American gay man, reportedly told police his attackers yelled racist and homophobic slurs. While race, sexual orientation and gender identity are protected statuses in Philadelphia, there's less protection outside of the city.

"Our state hate crimes law does not include sexual orientation, gender or age," said Landau.

"There are people out here who are specifically attacking LGBTQ people," said Naiyimah A. Sanchez, a transgender activist who does outreach for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "And it's ridiculous. It's like, when is enough ... enough."

Sanchez says she's been attacked more than a dozen times the worst was an attack with four-by-fours at age 18. Her most recent attack took place last year and left her with a bruised face.

Sanchez says she's been attacked more than a dozen times - the worst was an attack with four-by-fours at age 18. Her most recent attack took place last year and left her with a bruised face.
Naiyimah A. Sanchez

"It was just fight for survival at that point," she said. "Sadly, to say we've grown accustomed to and gotten used to, so we've learned how to protect ourselves."

Sanchez says she's learned self-defense and has been able to fight off numerous men at one time. 

Ed Iannucci teaches defensive tactics and says it's not about a fight, it's about stunning your attacker.

"You've got to give yourself that opening and get out of there," he said, "don't stand and fight; stun and run."

Iannucci runs Kim's Karate in Mount Airy. He also teaches defensive tactics to audiences often bullied.

"It's not how hard you fight back," he said, "it's about how smart you fight back."

For more on how report of an act of hate or bias, click here