NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Sarasota community unites against hate speech after hateful, anti-Semitic flyers are passed around

Posted at 6:34 PM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 18:34:15-05

SARASOTA, Fla. — Men, women, young, old, all of different races and religions packed Sarasota’s Bayfront Park Sunday afternoon to spread a very important message.

“We are all united against hate,” said Sep Englander.

Englander is the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota -Manatee. He’s one of the people who helped organize Sunday’s rally. The Jewish Federation organized the rally after hearing about the hateful and anti-Semitic flyers being passed around one Sarasota neighborhood last week.

“We are gratified that we have wall-to-wall support,” Englander said. “Hate and antisemitism, and racism are not the problems of the groups they’re directed against. They’re the problems of America, and the problems of American society.”

Neighbors did get the authorities involved when they found the flyers, but Sepi Ackerman said they knew they had to do more.

“My neighbors and I were very disturbed and it was very alarming,” she said.

While the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office and the police department work with the joint terrorism task force to track down the people responsible, Ackerman and her neighbors launched the “United Against Hate” campaign.

“It’s been a beautiful thing to witness our neighbors come together regardless of race or religion,” she said. “As a community, it strengthened us.”

Everyone ABC Action News talked to at the rally said the same thing, the best part about this whole ordeal, is it has united the community.

“The fact that there is unity against this hate is truly a first-grade step,” said Cliff Abramson.

City Commissioner Hagen Brody also attended the rally as an ally, and said the city doesn’t support hate speech of any kind.

“We are in this together,” said Brody.