By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Anne Arundel community came together Tuesday night to combat hate.

In the last few weeks the County has been bombarded with news after news of racially motivated crimes.

Police, the states attorney and citizens came together to confront the difficult topic of racism.

Earlier this month, police say surveillance video caught two teenagers hanging a noose at Crofton Middle School and that was a topic of conversation at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because you’ll see a room full of people and any number of white people in here too who are just as disgusted about it as we are,” said Rev. Stephen Tillett of the NAACP.

An attorney for one of the suspects said they were just pulling a prank but police disagree.

“I think by our actions that we took, by taking care of this case so swiftly, I think that shows that we know it was important to our community, and I think that the community knows that it was important to us,” said Lt. Ryan Frashure of Anne Arundel County Police.

In the last year, Anne Arundel County has grappled with racial challenges.

Last April, a student at North County High wrote an essay many considered to be racist.

Two weekends ago, the murder of Bowie State University student, second lieutenant Richard Collins the third was allegedly committed by Sean Urbanski of Anne Arundel County.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

While law enforcement and average citizens try to come up with solutions to combat racism, some say there’s hope.

“If we can begin to chip away at it, one person at a time, then I believe we will be making progress,” said Alexina Robertson of Anne Arundel County.

Organizers of the meeting said this was an opportunity for people to figure out what qualifies as a hate crime.

Several community groups took part in the meeting.

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