Amid Spike In Hate Crimes, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Calls for Response and Action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Build Trust Among Targeted Communities

At Hate Crimes Summit, Lawyers' Committee Presses Administration To Address Root Causes Of Hate

June 29, 2017 - The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law responded on Thursday to a new report detailing the lack of accurate data on hate crimes incidents.  The under-reporting of hate crimes is attributable, in part, to a lack of trust among targeted communities who do not feel safe reporting incidents of hate to law enforcement. 

Also today, the Lawyers' Committee is attending a Hate Crimes Summit at the U.S. Department of Justice to urge Trump administration officials including Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address the root causes of hate and to enact policies that promote inclusion and tolerance rather than policies that target minority communities such as the Administration's discriminatory travel ban.  A copy of Attorney General Sessions' remarks presented at the Summit can be found here.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, stated:

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions' speech today does not go far enough in responding to the spike in hate incidents that we have seen across the country in the last several months.  He failed to address the fact that more than 100 federal law enforcement agencies are not providing hate crimes data to the FBI.  Moreover, the Administration's executive orders and policies toward African Americans, Latinos, and other communities of color, Muslims, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, and refugees have undermined the trust that is necessary for communities and victims to freely report hate crimes to law enforcement.  We are participating in a Hate Crimes Summit hosted by the Justice Department today to underscore that a strong federal response is needed to confront the scourge of hate incidents now gripping the nation.  While it is critical that the Department of Justice redouble its commitment to effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes, any actions it takes must be understood in the context of the policies and positions that the Department has taken that promote the marginalization of minority communities and contribute to a climate of fear and hate. 

"It is in this context that the Lawyers' Committee will offer several specific suggestions concerning the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes and around hate crimes reporting, data collection, and training and outreach.  We know that until this Administration's policies and practices are reversed, we will continue to see the surge in hate incidents and hate crimes devastating our communities.   At every turn, we will continue to hold this Administration accountable and press the Justice Department to carry out its obligation and duty to fully and fairly protect the civil rights of all Americans." 

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Communities Against Hate partner, leads the Stop Hate Project.  The Stop Hate Project works to strengthen the capacity of community leaders, local government, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate by connecting these groups with legal and social services resources and creating new ones in response to identified needs.  The Project's resource and reporting hotline for hate incidents, 1-844-9-NO-HATE (1-844-966-4283), connects people and organizations combating hate with the resources and support they need. 

About the Lawyers' Committee:

The Lawyers' Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination.  Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers' Committee is continuing its quest "Move America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and  community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

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