Derek Slap


Derek Slap



December 8, 2023
Senator Derek Slap
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        CONTACT

December 8, 2023                                     Garnet McLaughlin 860-304-2319


Senators Slap and Anwar, introducers of the program, say the need for funds is tragic, but urgent.

HARTFORD, CT – Houses of worship and eligible nonprofit organizations at heightened risk of being the target of a hate crime or violent act will soon have access to $5 million in funds to improve security, according to the State Bond Commission’s December 15 agenda. State Senators Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) and Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) highlighted the scheduled release of funding, as they have been strong advocates for increasing protections in recent years amid a rise of hate crimes and violent incidents in houses of worship.

In 2019, Sen. Slap and Sen. Anwar introduced the original bill which created the grant program through which this funding will be dispersed through the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). Last year, the state released $5 million for this program and over 200 institutions applied for the funding. About 100 institutions were awarded funding, leaving 100 institutions who did not receive grant funding.

“At this time of increased hate speech, antisemitism and Islamophobia it’s critical that we help protect our houses of worship,” said State Sen. Derek Slap. “No one should be afraid to attend services and this funding will go directly to harden infrastructure and improve security. Thank you to Governor Lamont and the State Bond Commission for putting this important funding on the agenda.”

“It is relieving, especially in times of heightened tensions and increased reports of antisemitism and Islamophobia, that this funding will continue to protect and support houses of worship across our state,” said State Sen. Saud Anwar. “Everyone should be free to practice their religion without interference or threat and this funding will make our faith communities safer. I’m grateful to Governor Lamont and the Bond Commission for their support.”

“The Jewish community is thankful we live in a state that understands its role in public safety,” said Michael Bloom, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut. “Thank you Senator Slap, Senator Anwar and Governor Lamont for releasing these dollars which are crucial because of the rise of Jew hatred we are seeing.”

In the Bond Commission’s agenda, $5 million in funds are set to be released pending approval on December 15. These funds, financing the Nonprofit Organization Security Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program, include investments and grants-in-aid to eligible nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation and at heightened risk of violence. These organizations can receive up to $50,000 in grant funding to reinforce properties, including installation of ballistic glass, solid core doors, double door access, electronic locks, remote locks, buzzer systems, cameras, strong vestibules and other security metrics.

Antisemitism and acts of hate have been on the rise. Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2022 with a total of 3,697 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism tracked by the ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. This represents the largest number of incidents against Jews in the U.S., recorded by ADL since 1979. Since the October 7th attacks on Israeli civilians, the ADL has recorded a significant spike in antisemitic incidents across the United States. From Oct. 7-23, 2023, ADL recorded a total of 312 antisemitic incidents. By comparison, during the same period in 2022, ADL received preliminary reports of 64 incidents. Preliminary data from ADL Center on Extremism indicates that reported incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault increased by 388 percent over the same period last year.