Even as the Rabbi Henry Karp cites a worrying statistic about hate crimes in America, he recalls the support in the U.S. Congress when President Donald Trump spoke out against anti-semitism.
All of the members of Congress stood up against acts that included vandalism in Jewish cemeteries, said Karp, who led a news conference Thursday about the activities of a new local organization.
One Human Family QCA was created late last year as a measured response to acts of hatred and hate speech seen around the United States.
In the 10 days after the presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 867 reports of hate incidents, said Karp, rabbi at Temple Emanuel, Davenport.
The center is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation and based in Montgomery, Ala.
On the down side, Karp said, the election "encouraged those who hate to step from behind the shadows and assert their bigotry openly."
Although such incidents have plagued other areas in the United States, the Quad-Cities has largely been spared.
"We are a welcoming and inclusive community," Karp said.
The news conference included presentations from One Human Family task force leaders in four areas: Bob Babcock, community education and awareness; Glenn Leach, immigration; the Rev. Rich Hendricks, resource list development and data collection; and Viminda Shafer, school safety.
Leach, active in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport, offered what he called the saddest of the reports. Leach is the son of an immigrant; his father was a soldier in World War II who got his citizenship papers after he was honorably discharged from the service.
"But I have the saddest duty of all," Leach said, talking about the toll among immigrant families who are frightened about their futures. Such families no longer attend church, and the children return home from school, scared their parents may have been taken away by officials, he said.
In addition, Leach said parents no longer go out together, always making sure one adult is home with the children.
"We are preparing for when this is all a reality," he said, adding most immigrant families are a mix of people who are citizens, legal permanent residents and those who here without documentation.
Concerns about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, have caused the affected families to carry extra medications, in case they are unexpectedly delayed, Leach said. Many also make sure bills are promptly paid.
Nothing can be done to change the immigration law right now, he said, but the plan is to be prepared for eventualities.
Preparedness also is the goal for Hendricks, who spoke of a form to report hate incidents that might occur in the Quad-Cities. Viminda Shafer discussed getting information from schools on ways to prevent bullying of transgender and gay students.
Imam Saad Baig of the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities told the crowd of about 60 people that One Human Family will soon have a website. Students from Western Illinois University-Quad-Cities, Moline, have applied for a grant to develop the website, he said.
Babcock, a Davenport activist, discussed new yard signs now available. These say, in three languages, "No matter who you are or where you're from, we're glad you're our neighbor."
Babcock also promoted an upcoming session on how to communicate respectfully in a diverse world. "Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts" is 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, and is sponsored by One Human Family. It will be held at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 725 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf.