(EDGE) The National Organization for Women (NOW) held a press conference with NOW President Terry O'Neill and NOW New York President Sonia Ossorio during their Annual New York State NOW Conference, calling for Donald Trump to "Ban Bannon and Bigotry."

The packed crowd of roughly 200 participants held signs saying "Reject Bigotry and Hate" and "We Demand Respect" as direct messages for the president-elect. NOW leaders from across the state and local elected officials made a public demand that Trump rescind his appointment of extremist Steve Bannon and denounce the surge in hate crimes that are taking place across the country in the wake of the election.

NOW President Terry O'Neill said, "By putting a white nationalist in a position of power equivalent to his Chief of Staff, Donald Trump has shown that he has no interest in uniting all Americans or moderating his extremist views as president. NOW calls on president-elect Trump to rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon and renounce the politics of division, contempt, and fear."

Trump appointed Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counselor this past Sunday. Bannon is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, which is known for churning out misogynist, anti-Semitic, and white nationalist views. Headlines from the news site have included, "The Solution to Online 'Harassment' is Simple: Women Should Log Off;" "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy;" and "Hoist it High and Proud: the Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage."

When pressed about reports of hate crimes nation-wide in a "60 Minutes" interview last Sunday, Trump's response was, "If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it." The women's rights organization is calling this severely inadequate.

NOW New York President Sonia Ossorio said, "Month after month of fear mongering and angry rhetoric denigrating women and scapegoating Muslims and immigrants has set fire to a simmering racism and xenophobia, and it is the Americans that Trump has targeted who are now paying a price. Innocent people, including teenagers and children, are being bullied, harassed, and even attacked. These hate crimes are intolerable and un-American."

Just this week, the FBI released statistics showing a 7 percent rise in hate crimes last year. It is notable that anti-Muslim hate crime has reached its highest level since the September 2001 terrorist attacks. In the week since the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported over 400 incidents of intimidation.

New York State's Governor Andrew Cuomo has acted quickly to launch a toll-free hotline to enable the reporting of incidents of discrimination across the state, forcefully noting in recent remarks that the state's strong hate crimes laws will be enforced, "In this state there is no place for racism, there is no place for hate." The hotline number is 1-888-392-3644.

Mid-Suffolk NOW President Juliet Gobler said, "Suffolk County residents have been banding together to show they are adamantly against President-Elect Trump's rhetoric and staff appointments. They are supporting each other online, in people's homes and in public forums like never before. Mid-Suffolk NOW denounces the assumption that Trump's incoming administration has any kind of mandate for the racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. They will be opposed at every turn by Suffolk County residents who know our strength lies in diversity and working together for the success of all Americans."

In a statement, Nassau NOW Co-Presidents Julia Fenster and Patricia Pastor said, "Nassau County residents spoke clearly on election day when Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in the county. The hate rhetoric which has become commonplace for the president-elect does not in any way represent the inclusive nature of the diverse community of Nassau County. Nassau NOW denounces the continued divisiveness fueled by the president-elect, which is now exacerbated by his reckless appointment of Steve Bannon as Chief White House Strategist."

The NOW leaders were joined by Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran and Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Viviana Russell.

The National Organization for Women is the nation's largest organization working to advance women's rights and improve women's lives. NOW New York aims to protect and promote reproductive justice, secure workplace equality, combat racism and homophobia, and end discrimination and violence against all women.

For more information, visit http://nownyc.org/