Althea Bernstein, a Black, Jewish woman, was recently the victim of an attack now being investigated as a hate crime. We pray for Althea and join the call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.https://t.co/mOiQrn9pCJ— Rabbi Jonah Pesner (@JonahPesner) June 29, 2020
This tweet from Rabbi Jonah Pesner of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism sums up the story pretty well: a young Black Jewish woman was attacked and set afire by a group of men in a car in Madison, WI, on June 24, 2020.
From the Madison Police Department’s incident report:
The MPD is investigating an assault on an 18-year-old bi-racial woman as a hate crime after she was burned with lighter fluid early Wednesday morning.
The victim believes she was driving on W. Gorham St. when she stopped for a red light at State St. Her driver’s side window was down and she heard someone yell out a racial epithet. She looked and saw four men, all white. She says one used a spray bottle to deploy a liquid on her face and neck, and then threw a flaming lighter at her, causing the liquid to ignite.
She drove forward, patted out the flames, and eventually drove home. Her mother encouraged her to go to a hospital.
Hospital staff believed the liquid was lighter fluid. She was treated for burns, and will need to make follow-up visits to access additional medical care.
Investigators are looking at surveillance images to see if any of the assault was captured on camera.https://www.cityofmadison.com/police/newsroom/incidentreports/incident.cfm?id=26640 accessed 6/29/2020.
While several “go fund me” funds have been set up, I have not been able to ascertain whether any of them will actually go to her (always, always check!). If any readers learn of a proper fund for her, please let us know in the Comments.
Change.org has a petition seeking justice for Ms. Bernstein, and you can sign it at this address.