NEW YORK — Wedding planners have been urged to prepare for an uptick in hate crimes after the election of Donald Trump, and they should be prepared to put up or shut up.
A recent Gallup poll found that the percentage of Americans who say they’ve been verbally harassed in their lifetime has increased nearly fivefold since Election Day, to 28 percent.
And the number of hate crimes in the U.S. jumped more than 70 percent in the first half of 2018, with an increase of more than 1,000 percent, according to data from the FBI.
While hate crimes are not unusual, the uptick has prompted many people to talk about what it means to be a bride in 2017, said Krista Cappella, a marketing professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
“It’s scary for people who are planning a wedding, to think that they’re going to be targeted for hate crimes,” she said.
Cappella said the increased attention on hate crimes could be a positive sign, as more people are listening to and being aware of the messages and incidents they have heard about, and taking steps to protect themselves.
What to know if you or someone you know has been the victim of hate crime:Trump’s win has led to increased concerns for safety and security in many parts of the country.
Police departments across the country are reporting an increase in hate crime cases, and some states are even increasing their police presence to prevent future hate crimes, said Chris Anderson, a spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against hate crimes.
Some of the major incidents of hate have occurred in states such as Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia.
The rise of hate has spurred many to take steps to reduce or avoid being the target of hate, including boycotting businesses that are seen as racially discriminatory or failing to participate in events that feature events of racial or ethnic diversity.
But others have been more cautious about their planning, said Capplla.
Many bride and groomers have told ABC News that they haven’t had a single incident, but that they’ve received threats or intimidation.
The number of cases is up dramatically this year, but not by much.
This is why people need to do the work, said Laura Rennie, a former wedding planner for two decades and a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
People should be careful, she said, but they should also not be afraid to talk to someone about the issues.
“If you have someone who’s been verbally attacked, talk to them,” she added.
“I’m sure there are people who can help you out.”
This story has been updated to include additional comments from the Anti-‘hate’ campaign.