Department of Justice Announces New Initiatives to Address and Prevent Hate Crimes and Incidents
On the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, the Department of Justice today announced a series of measures to deter and combat hate crimes and other bias-related incidents. , particularly :
- Release new guidelines with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Publish grant applications for programs to create state-run hate crime reporting hotlines and support community-based approaches to preventing and combating hate crimes; and
- Hiring of the Department’s first language access coordinator.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Assistant Attorney Lisa O. Monaco, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Andrea Palm, and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced the new initiatives during an event at the Department of Justice. commemorating the first anniversary of the Department of Justice. memorandum on enhancing the Department’s efforts to address hate crimes and hate incidents and enacting the COVID-19 Hate Crimes and Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Acts. They were joined by family members of Congressmen Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer; Black, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community organizations; civil rights organizations; and law enforcement officials.
“Throughout our history, and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear they inflict on entire communities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate-motivated violence. The Department of Justice will continue to use all the resources at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate and to hold accountable those who commit them.
“We have seen an increase in hate crimes against many communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, people are still afraid to leave their homes, not only for fear of contracting the virus, but also for fear for their physical safety. This is unacceptable,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who serves as co-chair of the White House Initiative and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to addressing hate crimes against all Americans. Today’s announcements help deliver on the President’s commitment to keep our communities safe.
As noted in the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, the Department of Justice and HHS announced the joint release of guidelines to raise awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guide provides an overview of the increase in hate crimes and hate incidents during the pandemic, including an increase in hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, and several steps that forces law enforcement, government officials and others can take to raise awareness of the increase in hate crimes and incidents, and to use increased awareness as a tool to prevent and respond to hate crimes.
The Department of Justice also announced the release of $10 million in grant solicitations under newly created grant programs to address hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents. This includes grant solicitations authorized under the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act programs. Through these programs, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) will provide up to $5 million in grants to the Bureau of Justice Statistics to support the transition of state and local law enforcement agencies to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and reporting hate crimes through the NIBRS, and for the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to fund states to establish and operate state-run reporting hotlines for victims of hate crimes. OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has also launched applications for $5 million in grants under the Community-Based Approaches to Preventing and Addressing Hate Crime program, which supports community organizations and advocacy groups. of civil rights in implementing comprehensive approaches to promote community awareness and preparedness, increase victim reporting, build community resilience, and improve responses to hate crimes.
The Department of Justice announced that Ana Paula Noguez Mercado will join the Office of Access to Justice, where she will act as the department’s first-ever Language Access Coordinator. Language access is a major barrier to reporting hate crimes, and the Language Access Coordinator will help improve the knowledge, use and expansion of Department of Justice language resources.
Finally, the Department of Justice announced that Saeed Mody will serve as the department’s new Hate Crime Resource Coordinator, after the very first coordinator was recently appointed Director of the newly restored Office of Access to Justice.
Over the past year, the Department of Justice has taken a number of other actions in response to an increase in hate crimes and hate incidents. Some of these actions include:
- Designate an Associate Deputy Attorney General as the Department of Justice’s first Hate Crime Resource Coordinator;
- Designate the Chief of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division to play the role of facilitating the expedited review of hate crimes;
- Go beyond the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act directive to expedite the review of certain hate crimes by including other types of hate crimes;
- Designate at least one Assistant United States Attorney as Civil Rights Coordinator in each United States Attorney’s Office (USAO);
- Vigorously investigate and prosecute hate crimes – since January 2021, the department has indicted over 40 defendants in over 30 cases and secured over 35 convictions of defendants charged with bias-motivated crimes;
- Elevate civil rights violations and enforcement of hate crimes as priorities among the FBI’s 56 field offices;
- Facilitate FBI-hosted regional conferences across the country with state and local law enforcement agencies regarding federal civil rights and hate crime laws; encourage reporting; strengthen relationships between law enforcement and local civil rights organizations; and build trust within the diverse communities they serve;
- Launched an FBI-led national hate crime campaign involving all 56 FBI field offices to encourage reporting. The campaign includes outdoor advertising, billboards and radio streaming in addition to social media;
- Ensure that all states are now certified to participate in the FBI’s National Uniform Incident Reporting System;
- Revitalize the Community Relations Service (CRS) by installing, among others, the newly confirmed director, Paul Monteiro;
- Added information to the Department of Justice website on reporting hate crimes in 24 languages, including 18 of the most widely spoken AAPI languages in the United States;
- Create an online toolkit that provides USAO Civil Rights Coordinators with customizable community outreach materials and easy access to other resources and training;
- Pilot a new local training called United against hate help improve hate crime reporting by teaching community members how to identify, report and help prevent hate crimes and provide an opportunity to build trust between law enforcement and communities;
- Develop additional resources to help local officials, community leaders and residents address and design community responses to hate crimes and incidents, including a toolkit to address hate crimes and incidents against Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, which has been translated into Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Urdu, Tagalog, and Vietnamese;
- Release nearly $21 million in grants through these programs to state and local partners to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and assist victims of hate crimes, including through the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Program, Jr. Hate Crimes to support state, local, and tribal law enforcement and prosecution agencies in their efforts to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and in their outreach and education activities to the public, victims and others about hate crimes; and
- With the Department of Education, publishing fact sheets on bullying and discrimination in schools, including bullying based on COVID-19 related issues, bullying of LGBTQI+ students, and discrimination based on national origin and immigration status.
Find out more at the Ministry of Justice