DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  Mayor Eric Johnson announced Wednesday, Sept. 15, he formed the Mayor’s Anti-Hate Advisory Council “in light of statistics that show a rising number of hate crimes in Dallas and across the country.”

The new advisory council will meet regularly to discuss ways to make the city and Dallas Police Department better equipped to both respond to and prevent hate crimes and to promote a culture that is tolerant and understanding,

The announcement comes after the FBI released a new report showing that nationwide, hate crimes hit at a 12-year high in 2020.

Dallas also saw an increase last year.

“Dallas is a welcoming city, one that embraces its diversity and works to overcome the racial and economic divisions sowed by generations that have long past,” Mayor Johnson said.

The mayor added in his remarks, “We cannot afford to ignore or downplay hate. Nobody should feel uncomfortable or unsafe in Dallas because of who they are — because of their race or ethnicity, their sexual and gender identities, their religion, or their national origin.”

The inaugural Mayor’s Anti-Hate Advisory Council includes 16 people.

Mayor Johnson named four co-chairs: Sammie Berry, Minister of Dallas West Church of Christ and Chair of Dallas Area Preachers and Church Leaders; Sherry Goldberg, Chair of the Community Security Initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas; Gary Sanchez, Board Chair, North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce; Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Financial Services, Capital One Financial Corporation.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announces Anti-Hate Advisory Council (credit: City of Dallas)

“I love the city of Dallas, but we have work to do to eliminate hate,” said Berry. “We need to look at the value systems, the policies, and the laws that allow hate to fester. We need to work diligently to educate and eliminate hate and hate crimes here in our city. This advisory council gives us an excellent forum to work with Mayor Johnson on these critical issues and on building a better Dallas.”

“I applaud Mayor Johnson for his commitment and vision for our great city,” said Goldberg. “As a group, we must work together to combat and eliminate hate of all forms. Strength comes in numbers. When we all join in and work cohesively, our city will be rewarded now and for generations to come.”

“Hate has no home here in Dallas,” Sanchez said. “Regardless of one’s race, appearance, views or identity, everyone deserves to walk the streets of Dallas with a sense of safety and respect. I thank Mayor Johnson for this opportunity, and I am looking forward to working with my fellow co-chairs and committee members to drive hate out of our city and make Dallas a welcoming place for all those who live here, work here, or are simply passing through.”

“I am heartened to see our region’s deep commitment to inclusivity, and call upon everyone to condemn all acts of hate,” said Yajnik. “Efforts to drive positive change cannot end until every member of our community feels safe, valued, heard and supported. I’m honored to work hand in hand with Mayor Johnson and key community leaders to help foster belonging for all in the greater DFW area.”

Here is the full list of members of the Mayor’s Anti-Hate Advisory Council:

Sammie Berry, Minister of Dallas West Church of Christ and Chair of Dallas Area Preachers and Church Leaders (Co-Chair)
Sherry Goldberg, Chair of the Community Security Initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (Co-Chair)
Gary Sanchez, Board Chair, North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce (Co-Chair)
Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Financial Services, Capital One Financial Corporation (Co-Chair)
Imam Muhammad Abdul-Jami, Masjid Al-Islam
Averie Bishop, President, SMU Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and CEO & Founder of The Tulong Foundation
Carter Brown, Executive Director, National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
Cece Cox, CEO, Resource Center
Anita Zusman Eddy, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Jewish Community Relations Council
Hector M. Flores, Past National LULAC President
Mary Pat Higgins, President & CEO, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
Dr. Charles Ku, Past President, Greater Dallas Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce
Rev. Dr. George Mason, Senior Pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church and President of Faith Commons
Almas Muscatwalla, Executive Director, Faith Forward Dallas
Kirk Myers, Founder and CEO, Abounding Prosperity, Inc.
AnaChrista Robles, Senior Director of Impact and Inclusion, ISP Creative and State Marketing Chair, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas

CBSDFW.com Staff