Hate Crimes Charges for Woman Who Abused Mentally Disabled Victims
For the first time, federal hate crimes charges have been filed in defense of the disabled after a Philadelphia woman was indicted for kidnapping four adults and keeping them in “subhuman” conditions, according to The Grio.
Linda Weston, 52, and several accomplices allegedly duped severely mentally disabled people into having her declared as their caretaker. Weston then kept one woman and three men, who ranged from 29- to 44-years-old, chained up in her basement with little food. Weston pocketed $212,000 over a decade from similar schemes.
Due to the shocking nature of the crimes, writers like Kristina Chew for Care2.com have reacted strongly and called for greater scrutiny of the way we take care of the disabled.
“As a parent of an autistic teenage son, I feel queasy reading about the alleged abuses committed by Weston and the others,” Chew writes. “I am hopeful that the indictment against Weston and the others can send a powerful message about how and why we need to ensure that individuals with disabilities are cared for in full recognition of their humanity, dignity and rights as citizens, as human beings.”
Community Leaders in Los Angeles Unite After Hate Crime
A black family moved into their new home in Compton last Christmas, but almost immediately began experiencing harassment from a Latino gang in the area. After a violent confrontation last week, in which four men pulled a gun on a family friend and beat him with pipes, leaders from both ethnic communities are standing up for the victims.
Last Monday, about a dozen community leaders stood on the steps of the Compton City Hall and called for the city, sheriff's office and residents in the area to come together to help fight the increasing problem of gang violence all over Los Angeles.
"We will not let this incident define our community. We will work on the state, local and federal level to eradicate this behavior immediately,” said Satra Zurita of the Compton Unified School Board.
NIOT Billings Celebrates MLK, Jr. Day
Leaders of Not in Our Town in Billings, MT, helped lead celebrations of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in January, with speeches, marches and demonstrations across the town.
Eran Thompson, who heads NIOT-Billings, read King’s final speech before his death in 1968. “It’s no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence,” Thompson read.
NIOT-Billings hosted its third annual, “I Am Billings” community photo and an interfaith service. Learn more at NIOT Billings’s website.
Police Investigate Possible Hate Crimes in SoCal
Churches in Arcadia, a city about 15 miles northeast of Los Angeles, came under attack last week when vandals broke in, destroyed objects and set fires.
Police are investigating whether the break-ins can be classified as hate crimes. The two churches, Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church and Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd, are less than a mile from each other, but were attacked on separate days.
At Holy Angels Church, the suspects broke in, smashed two religious statues and a DVD player. At Good Shepherd, a religious portrait was set on fire.