The Buffalo shootings are the latest in a disturbing trend of hate crimes in recent months. All of these crimes are believed to be related to crimes against certain ethnic groups.

It’s leaving civic and religious leaders searching for answers as to why, including leaders here in Erie.

The shootings in Buffalo is reinforcing the need to do more to fight hate in communities like Erie where access to hate speech on the web is easier to find than ever.

One plan is to hold more events where people of different backgrounds can get to know each other so they can realize that they may not be as different as the hate rhetoric insists.

“It is the work that we must continue to do because the more we get to know our neighbors, the more we will see a sense on peach in our communities,” said Lamont Higginbottom, Second Baptist Church.

And the attacks in recent months no one group has been singled out. Besides the black community in Buffalo, there are Hispanics in the south, Taiwan community on the west coast, and the Jewish community in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Experts said that growing personal frustrations over a number of issues are fueling some to seek kindred spirits in hate sites.

That can lead some to take actions they might not otherwise do.

“And a lot of people in a different time and a different place that would not act that way now feel vindicates that they can do these kind of things and they would be looked upon as heroes by some people,” said Bishop Lawrence Persico, Erie Catholic Diocese.

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But despite the challenges, both religious leaders said that now is not the time to give up.