A team of professionals from the Bay Area are doing their part to fight hate crimes by providing victims and their families with a free and safe place to turn if they need help.
With many people having another holiday season during the COVID-19 era, communities are still grappling with the surge in hate crimes. Many of the attacks were directed against Asian and African American communities.
Irem Choksy, a professional therapist from San Jose, wants to change that.
“Many stigmatized communities have trouble seeking support, especially professional support,” she said.
Choksy is also one of the organizers of “The Hopeful Connect”, a dial-up warmline where anyone can get free help after work, when it is often hardest to get a real person on the phone at night.
“We are People of Color and we really identify with the vulnerable population who can sometimes feel excluded. And need access, but don’t know who or who to turn to, ”said Choksy.
Organizers say the Hopeful Connect line specifically addresses hate crimes and the trauma and other issues that victims may face, and certified volunteer trainers will listen to them and provide them with the resources they need.
The team said they fear there could be hundreds or thousands in the Bay Area who haven’t turned to anyone after hatred and racism, and this gives them a chance at a time when many traditional crisis lines are unoccupied.
“I’ve faced a lot of these kinds of issues trying to help the community with,” said Nadim Rahman, a co-organizer of Hopeful Connect.
Rahman said he will use his technical skills to get the line up and running and will work with callers online as a certified coach.
The warmline is intended for early intervention and crisis avoidance support, not for immediate emergencies.
The line begins Monday evening and will operate daily from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and is open to everyone in the Bay Area.
Callers can use 408-782-4736 or 415-782-4736 and can remain anonymous.