Bay Area Group Hopes New Warmline Will Give Hate Crime Victims a Safe Space

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A team of Bay Area professionals is doing its part to fight hate crimes by giving victims and their families a free and safe place to turn when they need help.

As many of people navigate another holiday season in the time of COVID-19, communities are still struggling with the rise in hate crimes. Many of the attacks have been directed towards Asian and African American communities.

Irem Choksy, a San Jose-based professional therapist wants to change that.

“A lot of stigmatized communities have issues with reaching out for support, especially professional support,” she said.

Choksy is also one of the organizers of “The Hopeful Connect,” which is a call-in warmline where anyone can get help for free after hours, when it’s often most difficult to get a real person on the phone at night.

“We are people of color, and we really identify with the vulnerable population who sometimes may end up feeling marginalized. And needing the access but not knowing who to go to or who to reach out to,” Choksy said.

Organizers say the Hopeful Connect line specifically deals with hate crimes and the trauma and other issues victims may encounter and certified coach volunteers will listen and get them to needed resources.

The team said they fear there could be hundreds or thousands in the Bay Area, who haven’t reached out to anyone after experiencing hate and racism and this gives them an outlet during times when many traditional crisis lines aren’t staffed.

“I have faced a lot of these same kinds of issues that we are trying to help the community with,” said Nadim Rahman, a co-organizer with the Hopeful Connect.

Rahman said he is lending his technical skills to get the line up and running and will work on-line with callers as a certified coach.

The warmline is for early intervention and support to help prevent a crisis not for immediate emergencies.

The line starts Monday night, and it will operate every day from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is open to anyone in the Bay Area.

Callers can use 408-782-4736 or 415-782-4736 and may remain anonymous.

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