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Documenting Hate

Crime & Justiceby Fern Shen7:00 pmFeb 4, 20170

Anti-immigrant incident at Johns Hopkins Hospital prompts reminder of “core values”

Hospital administrators say there’s been a rise in intolerant behavior

Above: Johns Hopkins Medicine urges reporting of all hate speech and acts, calling a visitor’s recent interaction with an international patient “appalling.” (Fern Shen)

Johns Hopkins Medicine staff got a memo from the administration on Friday affirming the institution’s core values of diversity and inclusion.

But not just as a reaction to the White House’s sweeping anti-Muslim travel ban.

A recent incident at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in which “one of our international patients” was harassed by a hospital visitor, prompted last night’s email signed by CEO Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Health System.

“We were disappointed recently to learn that one of our international patients, who was being escorted through the hospital by a staff member, was approached by another visitor, who publicly berated him for speaking his native language and told him to go back to his own country,” Rothman and Peterson wrote.

“This appalling interaction stands in stark opposition to our commitment that JHM be an institution that delivers compassionate care for our patients in a healing and safe environment,” the memo said.

Their email was followed by another from Hopkins security that said such incidents at Johns Hopkins are on the rise.

“Incidences of intolerant and insensitive behavior directed toward Johns Hopkins patients, visitors, faculty members, staff members and students have unfortunately increased,” the memo said. “Corporate Security takes these situations very seriously.”

Victims or witnesses were advised to “remain calm” and “Do not engage the individual. Walk away to separate yourself.”  Numbers were provided for incident reporting.*

The memo from Rothman and Peterson follows a highly personal statement by Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels released last week in the wake of the issuance of the travel ban.

“In March 1939, my father, then seven years old, and his family came to Canada as Jewish refugees from Poland, only months before Hitler invaded the country and unleashed his Final Solution on 6 million European Jews,” wrote the Canadian-born Daniels.

“As was true of so many Jewish families, including my wife Joanne’s, by the end of the Second World War, the entirety of my father’s extensive family in Europe was destroyed,” Daniels said.

Trump’s order imposing the travel ban “stands in unambiguous opposition to our country’s long-cherished values and ideals,” Daniels said. “Openness, freedom of ideas, opportunity for the many, not the few.”

Hate Speech Surges Nationwide

The trend at the hospital reflects a national upsurge in racial and religious hate speech and actions during and after the 2016 election.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, documented 867 “hate incidents” in the 10 days after Donald Trump was elected president.

More than 300 of them included direct references to the president-elect or his campaign rhetoric.

In Maryland, incidents of racial and religious hate have been flaring with greater frequency, according to Attorney General Brian Frosh, who set up a hate crime hotline. (866-481-8361)

The Baltimore area has experienced its share of these racial and religious hate acts, from the vandalizing of Black Lives Matter signs at area churches to customers being harassed at suburban big-box stores.

Trump’s January 27 Executive Order indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., stopped all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Late yesterday, a Seattle judge temporarily blocked Trump’s order, followed by signals from the White House that it would seek an emergency stay of the ruling.

* Hopkins Security 24/7 Communications Centers

East Baltimore medical campus – 410-955-5585
Homewood campus – 410-516-4600
Bayview Medical Center campus – 410-550-0333

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