Fletcher proposes commission to fight ‘rise’ in racism, hate speech

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This man wore a Nazi swastika flag on his facemask last week as he shopped in a Food-4-Less store in Santee.

This man wore a Nazi swastika flag on his facemask as he shopped in a Food-4-Less store in Santee.

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – After recent instances of people using COVID-19 face coverings to display symbols of racism and hate, as well as the increase of other hateful incidents, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher Tuesday is proposing the creation of a human relations commission.

“In the last several years, divisive rhetoric, hate speech and outward acts of violence have been on the rise across the United States, and while no community is ever immune to it, it has come out from the shadows and into the light in San Diego County,” Fletcher said Sunday when he announced he would propose the commission.

The proposed Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission would consist of 25 voting members representing a cross-section of the community, Fletcher said. The objective of the commission will be to “foster an inclusive culture and more equitable San Diego County.”

A man wore a KKK hood while shopping Sunday at a Vons store in Santee.
A man wore a KKK hood while shopping Sunday at a Vons store in Santee. (Photo: Tiam Tellez)

Fletcher cited the rise in antisemitism with the mass shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in 2019 and recent derogatory graffiti targeting Asian Americans found last week at a Little League field in the Allied Gardens neighborhood of San Diego.

Williams was the only African American to have served on the Board of Supervisors. Fletcher met with community leaders last year to discuss forming a commission after he learned the county no longer had the one founded by Williams.

The proposed commission was originally scheduled to be introduced in February but was postponed after the coronavirus began to spread.

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