Bay Area is not immune from the 'virus of hate,' faith leaders say

Faith and community leaders gathered on Monday in San Francisco to respond to the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. 

They said people of all races and backgrounds need to come together in order to prevent hate crimes from happening.  

Reverend Amos Brown, who heads the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, organized what was  described as an emergency meeting: A call for unity. 

"We in San Francisco acknowledge that this city is not immune from this same virus," said Brown.   

He's referring to the virus of hate. 

The gathering included law enforcement at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood.

"As soon as this happened, we were on calls with our federal partners in Buffalo discussing what the impact could be to the Bay Area and the city.  It's just something we have to do," San Francisco Assistant Police Chief Michael Redmond said. 

Also speaking on behalf of law enforcement was San Francisco's district attorney.

"There is a sickness and there are people with that sickness that have far too easy access to firearms," said DA Chesa Boudin. 

Speakers said education is key to fighting racism.  

"We are all Americans together in this country.  Remember this country is called USA.  Let's be united.  United States of America.  United is the key word," said Carl Chan, president of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. .

"When we see acts like this, we know that is something taught," said Supervisor Asha Safai, "Our diversity is our strength." 

Community leaders said there is a lot of work to be done towards preventing hate crimes.

"How do we stay connected to continue this conversation? How do we change in the way that we move, not waiting until an incident happens," said Sheryl Davis with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. 

Brown said everyone needs to unite to fight against  racism, overt and subtle, "African American humanity has been assaulted, insulted, vandalized and almost rendered to  be less than human." 

He plans to hold a gathering at San Francisco city hall at Noon Wednesday to announce the formation of a multi -racial group to work 
together to fight hate crimes against all people. 

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU 
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