© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Racist flyers found in Stamford as antisemitic acts double statewide in 2022

A Jewish neighborhood in Stamford is one of the latest areas in the region targeted by hate literature from a white supremacist group. The flyers were discovered on driveways in the Pepper Ridge-Springdale neighborhood in mid-March, as antisemitic incidents have risen throughout the state and country, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Police said they are investigating the incident, and no one has been charged.

The ADL reported that antisemitic incidents in the United States hit an all-time high in 2022, representing the largest number of incidents against the nation’s Jewish population since the organization began tracking in 1979.

For white supremacist groups, the mission of the flyers is simple: quickly promoting their views and raising money, said Stacey Sobel, the regional director for ADL Connecticut. She said residents who find hate flyers should contact police and her organization.

“We call on everyone to stand up,” Sobel said. “We as a community need to speak out.”

Stamford officials quickly condemned the flyers, but Carmen Hughes, director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for the city, said such incidents in Stamford are so rare, there was no playbook for how to respond.

“Since we had never dealt with this truly before, I don't think there is protocol, I think we had to follow what we felt was most important,” Hughes said.

Hughes, who has lived in Stamford for at least 12 years, said this is the first time she’s heard of this type of hate incident. She said the city immediately reached out to community members to gauge their reactions. The United Jewish Federation of Stamford, New Canaan and Darien was reached for comment but did not immediately respond.

Mayor Caroline Simmons issued a statement condemning the flyers on Monday, March 13, and the city’s Board of Representatives issued a resolution on Wednesday, March 22, condemning white supremacy.

Sobel said antisemitic incidents in Connecticut are becoming more common.

“In 2022, Connecticut experienced a 115% increase in white supremacist propaganda from the previous year,” Sobel said, noting that a new report from the agency found that the number of antisemitic incidents in Connecticut doubled from 2021 to 2022.

The flyers found on driveways in Stamford had an image of a Revolutionary War militiaman with text echoing the “great replacement" conspiracy theory, which claims whites are being purposely displaced by racial minorities, calling on whites to organize and resist. The theory has no factual basis and has led to white supremacists targeting racial minorities in mass shootings.

As a result of the flyers, Hughes said, many calls were made to the police.

“Into Sunday, over 30 calls had been made to the police department about these flyers as people were waking up and seeing them,” Hughes said.

Hughes said residents were disturbed and upset by the flyers. But Douglas Lavine, co-chair of the Connecticut Hate Crimes Advisory Council, said hateful language still falls under the First Amendment. Lavine is also a state appellate court judge. The state’s Hate Crimes Advisory Council offered recommendations on how to address bias incidents in 2022.

Lavine said he along with the advisory council recommended in their 2022 report that the state implement a uniform hate crimes reporting policy, adopt a community policing model and implement restorative justice for hate crimes among other suggestions.

Hughes said the flyers represented a recruitment effort, and the ADL said hate groups fundraise off these acts. But these incidents can also help raise awareness for targeted communities, according to the report.

The council is an advisory body, but Lavine said it’s working on getting the state to listen.

“The various subcommittees of our Hate Crimes Advisory Council are very actively working to try to implement recommendations that were made in the report that was filed in September,” Lavine said.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content