Organizations Join Forces to Collect Data on Hate Incidents and Provide Services to Impacted Communities Across The United States
By Shin Inouye, civilrights.org
On March 13, 2017, The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law announced the launch of Communities Against Hate, an initiative of 11 prominent national organizations working together to address the disturbing spike in hate incidents across the United States.
As part of this initiative, the organizations are launching a database to bring visibility to hate incidents and helping victims and organizations obtain access to legal resources and social services through a resource hotline: 1-844-9-NO-HATE or 1.844.966.4283.
For the first time to aggregate data on hate incidents, organizations representing a diverse set of impacted communities — including the Black, Latinx, LGBTQ, Muslim, Arab communities, as well as women — have come together as Communities Against Hate. This initiative will pull together traditionally disparate reporting of hate incidents and provide support for victims and communities. The pairing of services and documentation is unprecedented and especially critical in the current social climate.
“Acts of hate not only devastate individuals, but also target entire communities, threatening to undermine the most basic tenets of our democracy. Now is the time for communities to come together to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund.
The hotline will serve as a resource for organizations and individuals working to combat hate in their communities. Through the hotline, trained staff and volunteers will provide access to legal resources, including pro bono attorneys when appropriate, and connections to mental health services or other community organizations and resources.
“Our nation stands at a crossroads. Together, we are working with community leaders, local organizations, philanthropy and law enforcement agencies to combat the scourge of hate and hate-inspired incidents now gripping the nation. We will work with partners across the country to prevent and improve the response to hate incidents,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Additionally, as part of this initiative, the Open Society Foundations to date has made grants to 48 local organizations with innovative ideas for addressing hate incidents in their neighborhoods. These grants, covering 23 states and Puerto Rico, support a wide range of affected communities and diverse approaches to countering hate and helping its victims. Among them:
- Bet Tzedek, a Los Angeles organization that started as a law firm to help Holocaust survivors gain access to reparations, and is now helping members of the trans community protect themselves from hate.
- CONNECT Inc., which provides trainings in New York City schools to help bystanders know how to intervene when witnessing a hate incident.
- South Dakota Faith in Public Life, a multifaith coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics, who seek to use their moral authority to rally communities across the state to their theme of Love Thy Neighbor: No Exceptions.
Learn more by visiting www.CommunitiesAgainstHate.org; hate incidents may also be submitted. Follow and participate in the initiative on social media using the official hashtag, #CommunitiesAgainstHate.
The strategic advisor and partner organizations issued the following statements about Communities Against Hate.
Said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a strategic advisor to the initiative:
“It’s critical that communities everywhere come together to respond to the increase in bigotry we’re seeing as those with hate in their hearts now seem to feel that they have a license to act on their worst instincts. The launch of Communities Against Hate is an important step in that direction.”
Said Kica Matos, director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Center for Community Change:
“It’s a shame that today, decades after many Americans fought for equal rights for women, African Americans and the LGBTQ communities, these segments of society remain under siege through hateful and violent actions. The Center for Community Change is proud to be part of the Communities Against Hate initiative to end these cycles of violence and bigotry. CCC vows to stand up for all communities, including immigrant families, who are targets of xenophobic actions.”
Said Arisha Michelle Hatch, managing director at Color of Change:
“Anti-Black hate incidents and crimes continue to play a daily role in the lives of Black people in ways that threaten our safety and security. These hate incidents, often unreported or ignored by law enforcement agencies and major media—and now normalized by Trump’s administration—can surface in many forms: a racial slur spray painted on a community center wall; persistent, unchecked online harassment from an anonymous white nationalist troll; or during a violent, xenophobic encounter on a subway. Color of Change is proud to be a member of the Communities Against Hate initiative’s timely effort to push back against the normalization of this kind of deep-seeded bigotry.”
Said Geoffrey Winder, co-executive director of Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network:
“Trans and queer youth have reported escalating hateful rhetoric, discrimination and violence from peers and administrators in schools. Yet, youth are showing their resilience and belief in a just and tolerant society by reporting these incidents and creating positive school climates. We are proud to work with organizations across the country and leverage our collective power to shift the public narrative about the future young people want.”
Said Emily May, co-founder and executive director of Hollaback!:
“Since the election, our site has seen twice as many reports of harassment as we usually do this time of year. Hollaback! has collected over 10,000 stories of harassment over the past seven years— and through the Communities Against Hateinitiative, we’re excited to take this work to the next level by collaborating alongside other incredible nonprofits to shine a light on harassment in this country, remind victims that they aren’t alone, and remind everyone that they have a role to play in ending harassment.”
Said Madihha Ahussain, staff attorney and lead for the program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate at Muslim Advocates:
“As violence against a number of communities has swept the nation, we are proud to join our allies and partners in this project because we recognize that an attack on one is an attack on us all. Together, by collecting critical data and sharing resources with impacted communities, we are striving for a future where Americans of all faiths, races, genders and sexual orientations can live without fear.”
Said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza:
“We cannot allow hateful rhetoric and acts of violence to become normalized in our society. This is not what our America is about and we stand firmly with our partner groups and all Americans who believe in fairness, justice and equal treatment of all. We will continue to shine a light on these incidents and work with our community to stamp out hatred and intolerance.”
Said Ahmad Abuznaid, director of the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC):
“Storytelling is essential to organizing, shifting culture and extremely empowering for the individual. Humanity is best served when we are able to connect on a deeper level. The National Network for Arab American Communities is excited to be able to support this story collecting initiative in an effort to uplift the real stories of our community members as we move forward toward justice.”
Said Beverly Tillery, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project:
“The New York City Anti-Violence Project is honored to partner with organizations across the country working to end hate violence at this crucial time in our nation’s history. After over 30 years of tracking violence in the LGBTQ community, we are thrilled that Communities Against Hate is bringing us together to amplify the voices of all survivors of violence and connect them to resources. We believe this data will help inform and empower all of us to stand up against hate-based violence and the racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and other forms of bias and oppression in which this violence is rooted. We must be united and we must never normalize hate.”
Said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center:
“Seven transgender women of color have been murdered in the US this year that we know of—and it is only March. There is a crisis of violence against transgender people, fueled by a climate of hateful rhetoric and policy, that has for too long gone unseen and unacknowledged. Ignoring the violence faced by transgender people, particularly Black transgender women—or reporting that violence in a way that misgenders those attacked—contributes to a society that fails to treat us as fully human.”
Communities Against Hate is a national initiative to collect data and respond to incidents of violence, threats, and property damage motivated by hate across the United States. The initiative leverages a reporting database (www.CommunitiesAgainstHate.org) that aggregates reports from both victims, witnesses and news accounts of hate incidents, as well as offers legal resources and social services to support people in need. Communities Against Hate aims to aggregate data on hate incidents, providing legal and social support, raising awareness, and educating the public on the prevalence of hate. The initiative is led by The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and partner organizations representing diverse communities that reflect the fabric of America, including: Center for Community Change; Color of Change; Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network); Hollaback!; Muslim Advocates; National Council of La Raza; National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC); New York City Anti-Violence Project; and the Transgender Law Center. The Southern Poverty Law Center is serving as a strategic advisor to the initiative.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals. The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy. It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957. See more at www.civilrights.org.