I am horrified by the escalating violence in the Middle East and the mounting loss of civilian lives. My heart is with all our residents with families, friends, and ties to the region. Our priority in the City of Philadelphia is to consider and care for every community in our region that may be experiencing pain and uncertainty due to this conflict.
During these distressing times, our administration would like to provide support and resources to help anyone struggling in the face of this rapidly changing situation.
Reporting hate crimes and bias incidents
Historically, when events like this occur, there tends to be a rise in antisemitic, Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Arab acts. As a multi-ethnic and religiously diverse welcoming city, Philadelphia will not tolerate any hate crimes or bias incidents against our residents.
Always remember: safety first. Call 911 to report any hate crime. You can also report non-emergency hate crimes and bias incidents by contacting the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) at 215-686-4670 or email@example.com. The PCHR also has an anonymous hotline at 215-686-2856.
What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is a criminal offense (for example, vandalism, threats, assault, and murder) that is motivated by prejudice or bias and is directed at people because of their real or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, or disability. Hate crimes are devastating for victims and the larger community. They strike at the core of who we are as human beings—our origins, values, and beliefs.
What is a bias incident?
A bias incident is an act that is motivated by prejudice but is not a crime (e.g. being called a derogatory name or seeing someone holding a sign with a racist message). While bias incidents are not criminal, they are offensive and may be discriminatory acts that are protected by law (e.g. not providing equal service to people of a specific cultural community).
For those who would like to speak to a local, supportive interfaith leader about your experiences and feelings of distress due to the current crisis in the Middle East, support is available.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Philadelphia WARMline is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can call 844-PHL-HOPE (1-844-745-4673) to reach out for support, and a trained faith leader will return your call.
Healing circles and trauma support
Healing Circles are community-hosted peer support groups meant to provide opportunities to express grief, anxiety, hurt, anger, and other forms of emotional pain due to a recent collective traumatic experience.
If your organization is interested in hosting a Healing Circle for your network of peers or community members, please complete the Healing Circles Inquiry Form and a member of our team will get back to you to discuss your needs.
A collaborative team including the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, Interfaith Philadelphia, NAMI Philadelphia, and the Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs are supporting Healing Circles and the NAMI WARMline in response to the current crisis in the Middle East.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a mental health or substance use crisis, call the Philadelphia Crisis Line at 988. This crisis line operates 24/7 and has behavioral health counselors ready to respond to those in need.
Below are a few additional resources:
- Boost Your Mood is a resource guide from Healthy Minds Philly that has wellness and mental health tips for everyone.
- DBHIDS has created a digital palm card (PDF) full of trauma resources and support to help you navigate through some of life’s challenges.
- Healthy Minds Philly has a guide to Addressing Trauma and Violence (PDF) which provides information about community support in the face of trauma.
Ensuring the continued safety of our residents
In response to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, the Philadelphia Police Department is taking proactive measures to ensure the safety and security of our communities. They have increased patrols around religious institutions and all available officers have been placed in uniform and deployed strategically around the city to offer reassurance.
We are closely monitoring the situation in Israel and Gaza and are working collaboratively with our local, state, and federal partners to stay informed. We remain vigilant and prepared for any situation that may arise.
Please remember, if you see something, say something. Call 911 for emergencies or submit a tip to the Philadelphia Police Tip Line by calling or texting 215-686-TIPS.
We also encourage you to connect to important information from the City of Philadelphia by enrolling for free ReadyPhiladelphia alerts. Text READYPHILA to 888777 for alerts to your device or customize text or email messages by visiting the Office of Emergency Management’s website.