Archive for the ‘Hate Crimes’ Category

Five years after Oak Creek Sikh massacre, combat hate before it takes more lives – USA TODAY

Rana Singh Sodhi, Opinion contributor Published 5:00 a.m. ET Aug. 4, 2017

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a Sikh temple in Brookfield in 2012.(Photo: Darren Hauck, Getty Images)

Aug.5, 2012 was a tragic day in American history. A neo-Nazi walked into a Sikh house of worship or gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis. and took the lives of six worshippers. As Sikhs around the nation pray for the families who lost loved ones five years ago, Americans of all faiths must work together to prevent the spread of hate in our country. This issue hits close to home for me. On Sept. 15, 2001, my brother Balbir Singh Sodhi lost his life in a hate crime in Mesa, Ariz.Like all observant Sikh men, Balbir wore a turban as a religious pledge to lead an ethical life.He worked hard to provide for his family and was the type of person who never hesitated to help others in need.Four days after the 9/11 attacks, as my brother stood outside his gas station, he was shot and killed by a man who had earlier pledged to shoot some towelheads.

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In the post-9/11 environment, Sikh Americans have experienced a barrage of harassment and violence because of ignorance about who we are and what we believe. Americans of all races, faithsand sexual orientations are also being targeted. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there has been an average of 250,000 hate crimes each year between 2004 and 2015.I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans are full of love and kindness like my brother, but America has a hate crime problem, and it only takes one hateful person to shatter our lives and sense of security forever. All of us can take concrete steps to combat hate before it takes another life. Ordinary citizens can do extraordinary things through community service.One of the best ways to build bridges among diverse communities is to promote interfaith service projects.The founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, instituted a tradition called langar, where free meals are served at gurdwaras to all visitors regardless of their background. In Phoenix, for a decade we have hosted an annual dinner that brings together nearly 500 interfaith community leaders from across the state. I know these partnerships are possible, and interfaith dialogue is key to breaking down barriers and uplifting our fellow Americans.

Our educators and school officials can also play their part by enforcing policies against bullying and harassment. According to Sikh Coalition research, Sikh students across the nation are at high risk of being teased and even assaultedbecause of their appearance.Bias-based bullying is a problem that also affects students beyond the Sikh American community. Children are the future of our nation.As our country becomes more diverse, it is critically important that our youth learn to move beyond superficial differences and recognize our common humanity. Government leaders across America can promote a positive tone in our political discourse. Debate and disagreement arehealthy in a democracy, but political rhetoric should not pit people against each other. For example, Americans may have strong differences of opinion about immigration policy, but politicians should not promote stereotypes about immigrants that demean entire groups of people based on their religion or nationality.

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Last year, I spoke to the man who killed my brother and accepted his plea for forgiveness.It was an important and deeply personal step in the healing process.My family and I have gained strength from countless well-wishers across the nation and built lifelong friendships with people of all faiths who were personally moved by my brothers passing.We are grateful for this outpouring of support and hope all Americans can work together to build a world without hate.

We are strongest as a nation when we stand up for each other in our communities, schoolsand political spaces. As we honor the lives lost in Oak Creek, we must recognize that all of us have a role to play in preventing the spread of hate and creating a more welcoming and compassionate society for all people in the United States.

Rana Singh Sodhi is a Sikh community leader and advocate who lives with his wife and children in Phoenix.

You can readdiverse opinions from ourBoard of Contributorsand other writers ontheOpinion front page,on Twitter@USATOpinionand in our dailyOpinion newsletter.To submit a letter, comment or column, check oursubmission guidelines.

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Portland offers grants to track hate crimes – Pamplin Media Group

Community groups enlisted to spend $350,000 in city funds to document incidents and seek responses

Portland aims to curb hate crimes, which have surged since Donald Trump’s campaign, by kickstarting a local hate crime documentation and response system.

A new city initiative called Portland United Against Hate is now accepting applications for $350,000 in city grant money, which will be divided among 10 winning organizations by late September. The groups will be expected to design and pilot recommendations for a hate crime documentation and response system.

Earlier, the city doled out a total of $40,000 to Africa House, Asian Family Center, Coalitions of Communities of Color, Latino Network, Resolutions Northwest, Unite Oregon, Urban League of Portland and Q Center to survey a wide variety of Portlanders this summer on hate and aggression and begin community outreach.

Having city support is very promising for groups that already have been doing this work, says Shweta Moorthy, a research analyst for the Coalition of Communities of Color.

“This isn’t really due to Trump’s election in November we’ve worked so long just fighting institutional hate and reports of violence on an everyday basis for a long time,” Moorthy says.

Not reinventing the wheel

The Southern Poverty Law Center and ProPublica document hate crimes nationally, and local officials are keenly aware of that. This is not an attempt to replicate their work, says Michelle Rodriguez, management analyst for the city Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

Collecting data locally may yield more information and increase the ability of community organizations to respond to incidents of hate, she says.

Moorthy hopes a Portland-specific hate-crime documentation and response system could work well to complement the national documentation systems, and maybe eventually even inform them.

Linda Castillo, immigrant and refugee integration program coordinator of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, says the city hopes some of the pilot projects will be adapted and become ongoing practices of the city.

Ultimately, Castillo hopes this will reduce and eventually eliminate acts of hate, from racial slights and microaggressions to severe, violent behavior, which are a constant reality for many Portlanders.

“The city cares about the very diverse community that we have. We want to send a message that we’re trying to build an inclusive, safe community where everybody can live and thrive,” Castillo says.

Moorthy says the grants and pilot projecs will allow communities to expand their attention from short-term, emergent needs, to longer-term advocacy work. Incidents of hate like the recent MAX stabbings aren’t isolated, she says, but are part of a larger pattern.

The competition between local organizations that hope to win grant money will be tough. There was standing room only at a recent information session at City Hall, and representatives of a wide variety of groups were present and asking questions.

Rania Ayoub, director of public relations at the Muslim Educational Trust, says the trust may apply for a portion of the grant money. This hate crime documentation project is much needed and very timely for her community, she says.

Data kept confidential

Although the pilot project is being funded by grant money from the city of Portland, the city will not collect or control the data yielded from the documentation and tracking systems. Rodriguez thinks this added layer of privacy will make people more likely to thoroughly report instances of hate and aggression.

“Considering the climate right now, we’re really concerned that people won’t answer,” Rodriguez says.

Assuring people that the government isn’t collecting their data may encourage them to report, she says.

Portland United Against Hate is still ironing out the details of how this will work, Castillo says, but officials intend to remove personal identifying details from incident reports, before making other information available to members of impacted community groups.

Officials from Portland United Against Hate are adamant about ensuring representation of as many marginalized communities as possible.

“We’re not going to fund nine organizations that all serve the same community,” Rodriguez says. A tenth organization will be selected to analyze the data.

Portland United Against Hate officials want to select organizations that are going to work for the representation and protection of all communities affected by hate crimes.

“It’s OK to be narrowly focused. If your organization only works with the Latino community, don’t pretend you work with everyone else. Focus on that strength,” Rodriguez says. “But you will be working with other organizations. You can’t have blinders on. The strength will be around the coalition and the collaboration.”

For more: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/brfs/71081

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Florida cities fail to report hate crimes – Miami Herald


Miami Herald
Florida cities fail to report hate crimes
Miami Herald
August 5th is the fifth anniversary of one of the deadliest hate crimes in modern history: a neo-Nazi attack on a gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. As Sikh Americans remember that tragic day, the threat of hate crimes has not

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Is It Time For Hate Crime Legislation? – High Plains Reader

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | August 2nd, 2017

Activists and a handful of counter protesters gather in the rain to discuss hate crime legislation and support for victims

FARGO Afternoon rain didnt stop nearly 200 people from supporting an anti-hate rally Wednesday outside current City Hall. The event also attracted counter protesters, although they predominantly remained quiet.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, and activists spoke at the North Dakota United Against Hate rally in an attempt to garner support for hate crime victims and to begin the campaign of making hate-crime laws, which North Dakota does not currently have.

Groups such as the Democratic Socialists of America and Trans Lives Matter also showed up in support of the cause.

David Myers, a Jew, and founder of the Center for Interfaith Projects, a nonprofit organization, said much if not all hostility toward refugees is actually hostility targeting Muslims.

I feel religiously called to welcome refugees and immigrants, including Muslims, indeed all the New Americans, Myers said. I am aware of the long history of prejudice against Jews. Jews have been and still are in many places of the world the hated other. This enables me to put myself in the place of New Americans, who are Muslims.

The question is: how can we reduce hate directed at Muslims?

Religious prejudice can be overcome through knowledge and personal relationships, Myers said.

We cannot forget that a number of decades ago, the most hated religious groups in this country were Jews and Catholics, Myers said. This has dramatically changed.

The two groups that people in the United States feel most positive about today are Jews and Catholics, he said.

Do not hate the stranger in your heart, it will poison you, and make your life miserable, Myers said.

The rally was interrupted halfway through one of the speeches, when Kevin Benko, of Fargo, shouted from a nearby parking lot.

Hate speech is just a difference of opinion, you assholes, Benko said.

Police officers approached him, while Pete Tefft, identified as a Nazi by Fargoan Luke Safely in February, came over to offer support.

Muslims who are not assimilated are a problem, Benko said. They are under Sharia law, and if that conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution gets thrown out.

When asked if he disagreed with the state accepting more refugees, Benko said as long as they assimilated, he didnt have a problem.

Tefft, who wore a red Make America Great Again Trump hat, said he had friends with him, but they were there primarily to watch his back. He didnt admit to being a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer, but worries that by 2050 white people in America will be the minority.

My contention is that most of what constitutes hate speech affects pro-white speech, Tefft said. Anti hate speech is synonymous with anti-white and anti-America.

Since being identified as a Nazi, he has received death threats, and has been followed out of bars for his white supremacy beliefs.

Im a pro-white activist, Tefft said. Nazi is a racial pejorative, kinda like our N-word. If you want to be real, myself, a pro-white activist, maybe some National Socialists and other pro-white organizations, typically have been the only ones willing to stand forward to protect the freedoms of everyone on the right.

So far, his beliefs and followers have had little more than an online presence. Two days before the rally, an advertisement appeared on Facebook entitled Anti-white Speech Discussion, organized by Hal Resnick, which was scheduled for the same time.

Resnick is listed as the new unit leader for the Nazi party, or Nationalist Socialist Movement of North Dakota, according to the Nationalist Socialist Magazine, or NSM88. The numerals stand for the letter H, short for Heil Hitler.

Tefft was hoping for more people to attend the rally, he said. The North Dakota United Against Hate Facebook page had more than 700 people interested in going, and nearly 350 going to the event. Due to the rain, approximately 200 people showed, Fargo Police Cultural Liaison Officer Vince Kempf said.

Tefft plans to hold his own rally soon, he said. I want to bring awareness to a lot of these issues and the only way to do it is out in the public square.

One of his upcoming rallys intentions is to show that mass immigration into North Dakota is an anti-white policy, he said.

Were expected to foot the bill and not ask any questions, Tefft said.

Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorns controversial proposal last fall into investigating the costs behind refugees in Fargo is not enough, Tefft said. He called Piepkorn an economic fetishist, concerned primarily with financial statistics and not with white civil rights and anti-white policies.

The investigation has sparked numerous protests, including an attempt to force Pipekorn to step down.

An organizer of Wednesdays event, Michelle Ridz, of the High Plains Fair Housing Center, told those gathered to join the fight against hate crime on Facebook, where future incidents can be reported, and a task force would soon be formed to deal with such acts.

More than 30 percent of hate crimes occur near the home, Ridz said.

What is more unsettling is being targeted in your own home? Ridz said.

Most hate crimes are not reported, but victims can find recourse through the Federal Fair Housing Act, she said.

Reverend Michelle Webber, pastor of the First Congregational UCC Church in Moorhead, said once she saw the rains coming, she thought about staying home.It sure would be nice to stay in my living room, but then I thought, people who experience hate speech and hate violence dont get to choose when its convenient for them, Webber said.

Speaking against hate, wet from the rain, is a privilege.

Fargo City Commissioner John Strand said growing up in the North Dakota countryside offered him a perspective Fargoan can practice to begin understanding each other.

My suggestion to all of us in our community is that we wave at each other, we greet each other, we genuinely ask how are you doing today when we see other people, Strand said. We mean it, we just dont do it for the sake of, but you act, and engage and you learn from each other.

Many of the speakers referred to the Walmart parking lot incident where a white woman, Amber Hensley, yelled at three Muslim women, we are going to kill you all.

A simple story of anger and hate that turned into forgiveness, Musa B Bajaber said of the incident. I am sure that Amber did get emails and messages from idiots who said they got her back, and I am sure that Sarah and Laleyla were asked to push further and never to budge. But all three disappointed those who wanted to see an escalation, and we should salute them for that.

People of Fargo and Moorhead through the experience we have been through and the happy ending to it, we put a dent on the hateful rhetoric that is sweeping the United States, Bajaber said.

Hate crime is not just emotional and instilling fear in the community, Barry Nelson of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition said. It also has dramatic economic impacts on the people who have been affected. Two people in recent years who were the victims of hate crimes can no longer work, Nelson said, and need help.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, whose message was read by Strand, said the city and the state have no choice but to grow.

The Fargo I know is a city that celebrates and promotes diversity, all while preserving and respecting our citizens safety and dignity, Mahoney said. We must commit ourselves to resist hate and violence in all forms. We need to agree that fellow citizens sometimes may need a hand up, and not a hand down. We also need to realize that someday, due to circumstances beyond our control, we could become refugees. It could happen to any one of us, and how would we want to be treated.

We need to support victims of hate crimes and send a strong message that this behavior has zero tolerance here.

Those of us who have been here so long we never talked about it [hate crimes], Fowzia Adde, executive director of the Immigrant Development Center, said. Its better for us to talk about it now, or our community will not grow. We want to hold hands. We want our children to have a future, here.

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You Tell Us: Are LGBT Hate Crimes on the Rise? – Advocate.com

In a world where the Justice Department goes out of its way to declare that LGBT people arent covered by civil rights laws, an unhinged man in the White House tweets that he wants to ban transgender peoplefrom the military (which is currently the countrys largest employer of trans people), and statehouses around the country are considering anti-trans bathroom billsand religious freedom legislation that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people it should come as no surprise that LGBT people are being targeted with threats, harassment, and violence.

The LGBT community has long borne the brunt of hate crimes. As The New York Timesreported last year following the Orlando Pulse massacre, LGBT people are twice as likely to be targeted as African-Americans, and the rate of hate crimes against them has surpassed that of crimes against Jews.

Another report, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2016, by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, found that the majority of those killed in such hate-fuel crimes were trans women of color.

Hate crimes are massively underreported. Those targeted may fear coming forward or doubt that anyone will care (especially if theyve previously been discriminated against or harassed by the police). Indeed, a 2014 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that most hate crimes go unreported, and those that are reported are rarely classified as hate crimes by local law enforcement. That finding was further reiterated by a 2016 investigation conducted by the Associated Press, which found that thousands of police and sheriffs departments around the country hadnt reported a single hate crime between 2009 and 2014.

Of the 5,462 single-bias hate crimesreported to the FBIin 2014, almost one-fifth were because of the targets real or perceived sexual orientation. But with so many in the LGBT community dealing with intersectional biases, our risks of becoming victims are even higher.

Those who study hate crimes often report that when society at large begins to accept a minority, those who hold biases against them feel threatened and lash out. The Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality may have been the dynamite, but the Trump campaign seems to have lit the fuse: Even before the election, jurisdictions were reporting sharp increases in the number of bias based attacks.

For example, theLos Angeles Daily News reported, Los Angeles experienced a 15 percent increase in hate crimes in 2016, along with a significant spike in attacks against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities, according to data analyzed by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

The number of reported hate crimes in the county jumped from 200 to 230 in just one year. Brian Levin, the centers director said he was particularly disturbed by the surge in the most violent type of attacks, which are aggravated assaults, which rose nearly 64 percent in 2016, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. Criminal threats rose 33 percent from 27 in 2015 to 36 last year.

To help get a better sense of the number and types of hate crimes, and how their frequency has changed since the election, The Advocate is partnering with other media outlets, civil rights groups, and universities on a ProPublicaproject calledDocumenting Hate.

This year The Advocate has already increased its coverage of incidents of hate, harassment, and violence targetting LGBT individuals. But to further our understanding of this critical issue we need your help. If you have been the victim of a hate crime: attacked verbally, online, or physically and it seemed motivated by your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, trans status, disability, or religion, please share your story with us by filling in the form below. You can also report if youve witnessed this occurring to someone else. Please include your contact details, so someone can follow up with you. Well be sharing this info with our Documenting Hate partners.

We are collecting information about physical assaults, threats, vandalism, and other offenses that meet theFBIs hate crime definition:a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offenders bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

But we also want to know about incidents motivated by hate that may not rise to the legal definition of a crime including online bullying, harassment, and doxxing the public release of your private information including addresses and trans status. (For recommendations on improving your safely check out Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment).

Together we can improve our understanding of the true magnitude of the problem and publicize the intensity of the bias directed at the LGBT community.

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Denver hosts first hate crime prevention forum – FOX31 Denver

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DENVER — Community leaders and residents gathered Tuesday for a first-of-its-kind city-hosted forum exploring ways to combat hate crime in Denver.

The biggest obstacle facing police and prosecutors is the lack of motivation victims have to report hate crimes, according to officials.

The forum, held at First Baptist Church in the Captiol Hill neighborhood, served as an opportunity for community leaders and nonprofits to strive for a better understanding as to why people do not report hate crimes.

Organizers said they are working to help victims become more comfortable while encouraging law enforcement to become more approachable.

Speakers drew attention to federal statistics showing a rise in hate crimes over the past year.

For every hate crime that is reported, many more are not, according to the Denver-based Matthew Shepard Foundation.

The foundation wants to understand what motivates people psychologically either to report or to not report, foundation executive director Jason Marsden said.

The foundation is conducting an anonymous online survey to find ways to better support victims and improve police relations.

Some police relations work is already underway within Colorados largest police department.

The Denver Police Department recently installed an LGBTQ community liaison officer and continues to create a partnership with businesses to provide Safe Place reporting sites for victims to seek help.

The work of Denver police officers is supported by a team of specially trained hate crime prosecutors, according to Denvers district attorney.

Now we have attorneys that work very closely with the Denver Police Department who also have a hate/biased team of detectives, District Attorney Beth McCann said.

Over the past year, swastika vandalism has been seen throughout the greater Denver area.

Jewish people are just one of the many targets of this type of crime motivated by race, national origin, disability, gender, religion, skin color and/or sexual orientation/identity.

Federal crime victimology studies have indicated there may be a quarter of a million people a year who are victims to these types of incidents, Marsden said.

Forum organizers said they hope events Tuesday and in the future will not just start a conversation but also have a real impact through education and empowering people to report hate.

A new city ordinance in Denver allows municipal judges to hand down longer sentences for people accused of municipal hate crimes.

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Why so many hate crime victims choose not to report – High Country News

This story originally appeared on ProPublica and is republished here with permission as part of the Documenting Hate project, an investigation into underreported hate crimes and bias incidents in America.

It is one of the most striking and curious statistics contained in a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report on hate crimes in America: 54 percent of the roughly 250,000 people who said they were victimized in recent years chose not to file a formal complaint with the authorities.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation, an advocacy organization based in Colorado that played a role in successfully pushing for national hate crime legislation, has recently tried to better understand the phenomenon. The foundation began asking theDenver residentsnotifying the organization about being victimized to explain why they did or did not report the incident to the police.

The effort began in February and so far has produced a modest 15 responses not all of which appear to be crimes. But in a country largely bereft of reliable or probing data on hate crimes, the information collected by the foundation has value.

The foundation, which shared its data as part of ourDocumenting Hateproject, agreed to make public some of the responses to the question on reporting to authorities. The responses are anonymous, but they offer glimpses into the mix of forces at work when victims are deciding what to do: confusion about the definition of hate crimes; skepticism of the commitment by law enforcement to aggressively investigate; fear of retaliation.

They echo what other organizations have heard through listening sessions, meetings, and the national victims of crime survey responses, said Jason Marsden, the foundations executive director, referencing the Bureau of Justice Statistics report.

For one transgender person who reported that homophobic slurs and beer cans were hurled at them, the answer to why they reported the assault to the police was clear: To get these men charged with a crime.

For others, there was confusion as to whether what happened to them was worth reporting to the police. One of the responses came from a gay woman who had felt menaced by a drunk man, who screamed at her: You fucking dykes are all going to hell. The woman said her main concern was to flee the scene as quickly as possible.

She said it was also far from clear to her that the menacing amounted to a crime, since it was just mean words. It would take a real investigation to answer her uncertainty, but its quite likely the incident didnt qualify as a prosecutable crime.

A Hispanic woman walking through her neighborhood wrote that she felt sexually harassed by passengers in a passing car. Working or walking? she said they asked her. She didnt call the cops. It is just expected that women have to deal with this and it is a fact of our lives, she wrote. On a more logistical level, she added, I did not get the license plate number.

A gay woman with short hair reported that another woman tried to bar her from entering the womens room at a McDonalds, believing she was transgender. It was pointless to report, she said, though she added she had to physically move the woman from her path.

Hate incidents are severely underreported – a new project is trying to fill in those data gaps.

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A number of the respondents did call the police, to mixed effect. A gay, black man at a rally against President Donald Trumps travel ban said a passenger in a passing vehicle threw an egg at his face. When he contacted the Denver Police Department, the dispatcher seemed unsympathetic, he reported. No police officer came to my assistance, although I felt I was in distress.

Another gay man said he was followed around a store by an angry man who yelled homophobic slurs at him. I refuse to allow anyone to attack me like this, so I reported it, he wrote. He went on to say, without further explanation, that when it was all over, he wound up being ticketed by the police for disturbing the peace.

A disabled lesbian woman in the citys suburbs said a neighbor tried to run her down with his car. She said she wanted to call the police, but that she was afraid. I often think I will not be believed or taken seriously, she wrote. When she called the police anyway, she asked the officers not to confront the man, fearing retaliation for filing a report. I knew that reporting the incident was important both to notify authorities to have the incident documented, to have evidence of harassment on file in the event of a future incident, and because no matter who I am or what my sexuality is, I knew this was wrong and potentially criminal, she wrote.

When a recently disabled gay man said he was attacked by another man whod asked for bus fare, he said he was prevented from calling the police by his assailant. Faggot, you calling the police, the man reportedly said as he punched the victim. Luckily, he wrote, someone else called the authorities for him. He thought the cops were great. They were very compassionate, he wrote, adding that the officers offered to have a victim advocate talk with him, and came back later to check on him.

In all, most of the people surveyed did not report incidents to the police.

My take on the results mostly is that people are not reporting because they just dont think the police are going to take it seriously enough, or they dont think the incident went to that level, said Stephen Griffin, who the foundation contracted with to implement the survey.

Christine Downs, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department, said by email that even if a person doesnt believe what happened to them was a crime, they should report the incident to the police. The Denver Police Department strongly encourages all residents to report crime, regardless of how insignificant they may think it is, especially bias-motivated crimes, she said.

Marsden, the Matthew Shepard Foundations executive director, plans to try to expand their survey to other cities to keep learning more about why people dont report incidents of hate, and to take what they learn to the police officers they work with. I think that can help keep people safe and help on the prevention side of things, he said. You have to be an optimist in this line of work.

This story originally appearedon ProPublicaand is republished here with permission as part ofthe Documenting Hate project, an investigation into underreported hate crimes and bias incidents in America.

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California Hate Crimes Increase by 11 Percent – Santa Barbara Independent

A report released by the California Department of Justice found that hate crimes increased by 11.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, from 837 to 931. Perhaps this report should come as no surprise, given it spanned a year with one of the highest levels of racial discontent since the 1992 Rodney King riots and a presidential candidate who routinely excoriated Mexican immigrants. Racially motivated hate crimes accounted for 55.9 percent of all hate crimes statewide: 48.4 percent were against African Americans, 16 percent were anti-Latino or Hispanic, and 10.8 percent were antiwhite. A fifth involved the victims sexual orientation. (Nationwide, another report shows a 67 percent increase in hate crimes againstMuslims.)

The report tracked two hate crimes in Santa Barbara County: One was racially motivated, the otherhomophobic.

However, the Santa Barbara Police Department also recorded three hate crimes in 2016 that were not included in the report. All were assaults on men perceived to be gay and took place near State Street in the late afternoon, between June and October. Notably, hate crimes against gay males increased statewide by 40.7 percent thatyear.

In 2017 the Santa Barbara District Attorneys Office has already handled three hate crimes. On February 23, a white suspect threatened an Asian man while yelling racial slurs during a vehicle-related altercation. Two days later, at the PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) shelter, a white man threatened an African-American man. Then in April, a 19-year-old Isla Vista resident physically attacked a 63-year-old man while yelling homophobicremarks.

In 2008, former President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named after a gay teenager from Wyoming and an African-American man from Texas, respectively, both victims of brutal murders in 1998. The landmark legislation expanded the authority of the FBI to investigate hate crimesnationally.

A special report published in June by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that more than half of all violent hate crimes went unreported between 2011 and 2015, based on an annual survey of 90,000 households. Humiliation, concern about retaliation, fear that their identity will be discovered, language barriers, and disabilities are factors that often silence victims and make it difficult to take an accurate pulse on hate crimes in our community, according to Cyndi Silverman, regional director of Santa Barbaras Anti-Defamation League(ADL).

Silverman says shes witnessed a marked increase in hate incidents in the last year. Hate incidents, a term used by the ADL, differ from hate crimes in that they do not threaten anyones immediate physical safety but encourage a culture of discrimination and fear, such as when white supremacist posters were found along Cliff Drive near Santa Barbara CityCollege.

National civil rights organizations have also reported a significant uptick over the past year, especially in the month immediately following the 2016 presidential election, during which the Southern Poverty Law Center tracked 1,094 incidents. Silverman explained: Theres been an environment in which people have felt empowered to say or do things they wouldnt have done before, that they would have kept under wraps. Maybe this was under the surface, but now its out. She added, Our bubble is not as perfect as wethink.

Silverman and Brianna Moffitt, ADLs director of development, also reported xenophobic bullying on Santa Barbara school campuses, with kids telling other classmates to go back to your country. As a result, ADL is partnering with school districts and other groups throughout the tri-county area to host antibias trainings anddialogues.

In May, the ADL also held the Together as One community summit, which was attended by about 160 community members ranging from 2 to 97 years of age. The event was designed to encourage dialogues despite differences and help participants identify and unlearn their own implicit biases. On October 29, the ADL will host a second Together as One event, which is free and open to the public. Register at santabarbara.adl.org/together/.

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Jack’d Adds GPS ‘Blurring Feature’ to Protect Gay Americans From Hate Crimes – Advocate.com

Jack’d has added a “blurring feature” to protect its American users from hate crimes.

The tool obfuscates the exact location of a user so that others using the gay dating app cannot pinpoint his whereabouts although they can tell if he is nearby. It has previously been employed in antigay nations where this information could place queer people in peril.

Thanks to hatred incited by the presidential election, that list now includes the United States.

The blurring feature was originally created as a tool to protect gay menin countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt that have a history of violence against the gay community, confirmed Alon Rivel, the app’s director of global marketing, in a statement.

Since the 2016 election, however, there has been a surge in bullying and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community in the U.S.,” he continued. “As a result, a growing number of gay men here want to increase their privacy and keep their locations private too.

The U.S. election did indeed spark a surge in hate crimes and bullying targeting queer people. The Los Angeles Times reports that crimes against the city’s LGBT population increased by 24.5 percent in 2016. Even LGBT centers, as symbols of the community, have experienced an uptick in attacks and defacement. An arsonist who attacked a Phoenix LGBT center was arrested last weekend.

The world will live in is still not LGBTQ tolerant and with 70 percent of our users being young millennials, we have to be proactive in protecting their privacy, said Rivel.

In his speech at the Republican National Convention, President Trump vowed to be an ally of the LGBT community, leaving some to hope he might help quell antigay sentiment. However, Trump’s recent acts his silence on the attacks on gay and bi men in Chechnya, his announced intention to ban transgender troops from the U.S. military, and the Justice Department’s claim that the protections ofTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act do not cover gay people have had the opposite effect.

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Jack’d Adds GPS ‘Blurring Feature’ to Protect Gay Americans From Hate Crimes – Advocate.com

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Five years after Oak Creek Sikh massacre, combat hate before it takes more lives – USA TODAY

Rana Singh Sodhi, Opinion contributor Published 5:00 a.m. ET Aug. 4, 2017 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a Sikh temple in Brookfield in 2012.(Photo: Darren Hauck, Getty Images) Aug.5, 2012 was a tragic day in American history. A neo-Nazi walked into a Sikh house of worship or gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis. and took the lives of six worshippers. As Sikhs around the nation pray for the families who lost loved ones five years ago, Americans of all faiths must work together to prevent the spread of hate in our country. This issue hits close to home for me. On Sept. 15, 2001, my brother Balbir Singh Sodhi lost his life in a hate crime in Mesa, Ariz.Like all observant Sikh men, Balbir wore a turban as a religious pledge to lead an ethical life.He worked hard to provide for his family and was the type of person who never hesitated to help others in need.Four days after the 9/11 attacks, as my brother stood outside his gas station, he was shot and killed by a man who had earlier pledged to shoot some towelheads. Trump embodies every one of the Seven Deadly Sins Spare America a do-over on health care. Seize the bipartisan moment. In the post-9/11 environment, Sikh Americans have experienced a barrage of harassment and violence because of ignorance about who we are and what we believe. Americans of all races, faithsand sexual orientations are also being targeted. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there has been an average of 250,000 hate crimes each year between 2004 and 2015.I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans are full of love and kindness like my brother, but America has a hate crime problem, and it only takes one hateful person to shatter our lives and sense of security forever. All of us can take concrete steps to combat hate before it takes another life. Ordinary citizens can do extraordinary things through community service.One of the best ways to build bridges among diverse communities is to promote interfaith service projects.The founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, instituted a tradition called langar, where free meals are served at gurdwaras to all visitors regardless of their background. In Phoenix, for a decade we have hosted an annual dinner that brings together nearly 500 interfaith community leaders from across the state. I know these partnerships are possible, and interfaith dialogue is key to breaking down barriers and uplifting our fellow Americans. Our educators and school officials can also play their part by enforcing policies against bullying and harassment. According to Sikh Coalition research, Sikh students across the nation are at high risk of being teased and even assaultedbecause of their appearance.Bias-based bullying is a problem that also affects students beyond the Sikh American community. Children are the future of our nation.As our country becomes more diverse, it is critically important that our youth learn to move beyond superficial differences and recognize our common humanity. Government leaders across America can promote a positive tone in our political discourse. Debate and disagreement arehealthy in a democracy, but political rhetoric should not pit people against each other. For example, Americans may have strong differences of opinion about immigration policy, but politicians should not promote stereotypes about immigrants that demean entire groups of people based on their religion or nationality. POLICING THE USA: A look atrace, justice, media Declare opioid ‘national emergency’ Last year, I spoke to the man who killed my brother and accepted his plea for forgiveness.It was an important and deeply personal step in the healing process.My family and I have gained strength from countless well-wishers across the nation and built lifelong friendships with people of all faiths who were personally moved by my brothers passing.We are grateful for this outpouring of support and hope all Americans can work together to build a world without hate. We are strongest as a nation when we stand up for each other in our communities, schoolsand political spaces. As we honor the lives lost in Oak Creek, we must recognize that all of us have a role to play in preventing the spread of hate and creating a more welcoming and compassionate society for all people in the United States. Rana Singh Sodhi is a Sikh community leader and advocate who lives with his wife and children in Phoenix. You can readdiverse opinions from ourBoard of Contributorsand other writers ontheOpinion front page,on Twitter@USATOpinionand in our dailyOpinion newsletter.To submit a letter, comment or column, check oursubmission guidelines. Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2wrEBV6

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Portland offers grants to track hate crimes – Pamplin Media Group

Community groups enlisted to spend $350,000 in city funds to document incidents and seek responses Portland aims to curb hate crimes, which have surged since Donald Trump’s campaign, by kickstarting a local hate crime documentation and response system. A new city initiative called Portland United Against Hate is now accepting applications for $350,000 in city grant money, which will be divided among 10 winning organizations by late September. The groups will be expected to design and pilot recommendations for a hate crime documentation and response system. Earlier, the city doled out a total of $40,000 to Africa House, Asian Family Center, Coalitions of Communities of Color, Latino Network, Resolutions Northwest, Unite Oregon, Urban League of Portland and Q Center to survey a wide variety of Portlanders this summer on hate and aggression and begin community outreach. Having city support is very promising for groups that already have been doing this work, says Shweta Moorthy, a research analyst for the Coalition of Communities of Color. “This isn’t really due to Trump’s election in November we’ve worked so long just fighting institutional hate and reports of violence on an everyday basis for a long time,” Moorthy says. Not reinventing the wheel The Southern Poverty Law Center and ProPublica document hate crimes nationally, and local officials are keenly aware of that. This is not an attempt to replicate their work, says Michelle Rodriguez, management analyst for the city Office of Neighborhood Involvement. Collecting data locally may yield more information and increase the ability of community organizations to respond to incidents of hate, she says. Moorthy hopes a Portland-specific hate-crime documentation and response system could work well to complement the national documentation systems, and maybe eventually even inform them. Linda Castillo, immigrant and refugee integration program coordinator of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, says the city hopes some of the pilot projects will be adapted and become ongoing practices of the city. Ultimately, Castillo hopes this will reduce and eventually eliminate acts of hate, from racial slights and microaggressions to severe, violent behavior, which are a constant reality for many Portlanders. “The city cares about the very diverse community that we have. We want to send a message that we’re trying to build an inclusive, safe community where everybody can live and thrive,” Castillo says. Moorthy says the grants and pilot projecs will allow communities to expand their attention from short-term, emergent needs, to longer-term advocacy work. Incidents of hate like the recent MAX stabbings aren’t isolated, she says, but are part of a larger pattern. The competition between local organizations that hope to win grant money will be tough. There was standing room only at a recent information session at City Hall, and representatives of a wide variety of groups were present and asking questions. Rania Ayoub, director of public relations at the Muslim Educational Trust, says the trust may apply for a portion of the grant money. This hate crime documentation project is much needed and very timely for her community, she says. Data kept confidential Although the pilot project is being funded by grant money from the city of Portland, the city will not collect or control the data yielded from the documentation and tracking systems. Rodriguez thinks this added layer of privacy will make people more likely to thoroughly report instances of hate and aggression. “Considering the climate right now, we’re really concerned that people won’t answer,” Rodriguez says. Assuring people that the government isn’t collecting their data may encourage them to report, she says. Portland United Against Hate is still ironing out the details of how this will work, Castillo says, but officials intend to remove personal identifying details from incident reports, before making other information available to members of impacted community groups. Officials from Portland United Against Hate are adamant about ensuring representation of as many marginalized communities as possible. “We’re not going to fund nine organizations that all serve the same community,” Rodriguez says. A tenth organization will be selected to analyze the data. Portland United Against Hate officials want to select organizations that are going to work for the representation and protection of all communities affected by hate crimes. “It’s OK to be narrowly focused. If your organization only works with the Latino community, don’t pretend you work with everyone else. Focus on that strength,” Rodriguez says. “But you will be working with other organizations. You can’t have blinders on. The strength will be around the coalition and the collaboration.” For more: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/brfs/71081

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Florida cities fail to report hate crimes – Miami Herald

Miami Herald Florida cities fail to report hate crimes Miami Herald August 5th is the fifth anniversary of one of the deadliest hate crimes in modern history: a neo-Nazi attack on a gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. As Sikh Americans remember that tragic day, the threat of hate crimes has not …

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Is It Time For Hate Crime Legislation? – High Plains Reader

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | August 2nd, 2017 Activists and a handful of counter protesters gather in the rain to discuss hate crime legislation and support for victims FARGO Afternoon rain didnt stop nearly 200 people from supporting an anti-hate rally Wednesday outside current City Hall. The event also attracted counter protesters, although they predominantly remained quiet. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and activists spoke at the North Dakota United Against Hate rally in an attempt to garner support for hate crime victims and to begin the campaign of making hate-crime laws, which North Dakota does not currently have. Groups such as the Democratic Socialists of America and Trans Lives Matter also showed up in support of the cause. David Myers, a Jew, and founder of the Center for Interfaith Projects, a nonprofit organization, said much if not all hostility toward refugees is actually hostility targeting Muslims. I feel religiously called to welcome refugees and immigrants, including Muslims, indeed all the New Americans, Myers said. I am aware of the long history of prejudice against Jews. Jews have been and still are in many places of the world the hated other. This enables me to put myself in the place of New Americans, who are Muslims. The question is: how can we reduce hate directed at Muslims? Religious prejudice can be overcome through knowledge and personal relationships, Myers said. We cannot forget that a number of decades ago, the most hated religious groups in this country were Jews and Catholics, Myers said. This has dramatically changed. The two groups that people in the United States feel most positive about today are Jews and Catholics, he said. Do not hate the stranger in your heart, it will poison you, and make your life miserable, Myers said. The rally was interrupted halfway through one of the speeches, when Kevin Benko, of Fargo, shouted from a nearby parking lot. Hate speech is just a difference of opinion, you assholes, Benko said. Police officers approached him, while Pete Tefft, identified as a Nazi by Fargoan Luke Safely in February, came over to offer support. Muslims who are not assimilated are a problem, Benko said. They are under Sharia law, and if that conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution gets thrown out. When asked if he disagreed with the state accepting more refugees, Benko said as long as they assimilated, he didnt have a problem. Tefft, who wore a red Make America Great Again Trump hat, said he had friends with him, but they were there primarily to watch his back. He didnt admit to being a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer, but worries that by 2050 white people in America will be the minority. My contention is that most of what constitutes hate speech affects pro-white speech, Tefft said. Anti hate speech is synonymous with anti-white and anti-America. Since being identified as a Nazi, he has received death threats, and has been followed out of bars for his white supremacy beliefs. Im a pro-white activist, Tefft said. Nazi is a racial pejorative, kinda like our N-word. If you want to be real, myself, a pro-white activist, maybe some National Socialists and other pro-white organizations, typically have been the only ones willing to stand forward to protect the freedoms of everyone on the right. So far, his beliefs and followers have had little more than an online presence. Two days before the rally, an advertisement appeared on Facebook entitled Anti-white Speech Discussion, organized by Hal Resnick, which was scheduled for the same time. Resnick is listed as the new unit leader for the Nazi party, or Nationalist Socialist Movement of North Dakota, according to the Nationalist Socialist Magazine, or NSM88. The numerals stand for the letter H, short for Heil Hitler. Tefft was hoping for more people to attend the rally, he said. The North Dakota United Against Hate Facebook page had more than 700 people interested in going, and nearly 350 going to the event. Due to the rain, approximately 200 people showed, Fargo Police Cultural Liaison Officer Vince Kempf said. Tefft plans to hold his own rally soon, he said. I want to bring awareness to a lot of these issues and the only way to do it is out in the public square. One of his upcoming rallys intentions is to show that mass immigration into North Dakota is an anti-white policy, he said. Were expected to foot the bill and not ask any questions, Tefft said. Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorns controversial proposal last fall into investigating the costs behind refugees in Fargo is not enough, Tefft said. He called Piepkorn an economic fetishist, concerned primarily with financial statistics and not with white civil rights and anti-white policies. The investigation has sparked numerous protests, including an attempt to force Pipekorn to step down. An organizer of Wednesdays event, Michelle Ridz, of the High Plains Fair Housing Center, told those gathered to join the fight against hate crime on Facebook, where future incidents can be reported, and a task force would soon be formed to deal with such acts. More than 30 percent of hate crimes occur near the home, Ridz said. What is more unsettling is being targeted in your own home? Ridz said. Most hate crimes are not reported, but victims can find recourse through the Federal Fair Housing Act, she said. Reverend Michelle Webber, pastor of the First Congregational UCC Church in Moorhead, said once she saw the rains coming, she thought about staying home.It sure would be nice to stay in my living room, but then I thought, people who experience hate speech and hate violence dont get to choose when its convenient for them, Webber said. Speaking against hate, wet from the rain, is a privilege. Fargo City Commissioner John Strand said growing up in the North Dakota countryside offered him a perspective Fargoan can practice to begin understanding each other. My suggestion to all of us in our community is that we wave at each other, we greet each other, we genuinely ask how are you doing today when we see other people, Strand said. We mean it, we just dont do it for the sake of, but you act, and engage and you learn from each other. Many of the speakers referred to the Walmart parking lot incident where a white woman, Amber Hensley, yelled at three Muslim women, we are going to kill you all. A simple story of anger and hate that turned into forgiveness, Musa B Bajaber said of the incident. I am sure that Amber did get emails and messages from idiots who said they got her back, and I am sure that Sarah and Laleyla were asked to push further and never to budge. But all three disappointed those who wanted to see an escalation, and we should salute them for that. People of Fargo and Moorhead through the experience we have been through and the happy ending to it, we put a dent on the hateful rhetoric that is sweeping the United States, Bajaber said. Hate crime is not just emotional and instilling fear in the community, Barry Nelson of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition said. It also has dramatic economic impacts on the people who have been affected. Two people in recent years who were the victims of hate crimes can no longer work, Nelson said, and need help. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, whose message was read by Strand, said the city and the state have no choice but to grow. The Fargo I know is a city that celebrates and promotes diversity, all while preserving and respecting our citizens safety and dignity, Mahoney said. We must commit ourselves to resist hate and violence in all forms. We need to agree that fellow citizens sometimes may need a hand up, and not a hand down. We also need to realize that someday, due to circumstances beyond our control, we could become refugees. It could happen to any one of us, and how would we want to be treated. We need to support victims of hate crimes and send a strong message that this behavior has zero tolerance here. Those of us who have been here so long we never talked about it [hate crimes], Fowzia Adde, executive director of the Immigrant Development Center, said. Its better for us to talk about it now, or our community will not grow. We want to hold hands. We want our children to have a future, here.

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You Tell Us: Are LGBT Hate Crimes on the Rise? – Advocate.com

In a world where the Justice Department goes out of its way to declare that LGBT people arent covered by civil rights laws, an unhinged man in the White House tweets that he wants to ban transgender peoplefrom the military (which is currently the countrys largest employer of trans people), and statehouses around the country are considering anti-trans bathroom billsand religious freedom legislation that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people it should come as no surprise that LGBT people are being targeted with threats, harassment, and violence. The LGBT community has long borne the brunt of hate crimes. As The New York Timesreported last year following the Orlando Pulse massacre, LGBT people are twice as likely to be targeted as African-Americans, and the rate of hate crimes against them has surpassed that of crimes against Jews. Another report, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2016, by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, found that the majority of those killed in such hate-fuel crimes were trans women of color. Hate crimes are massively underreported. Those targeted may fear coming forward or doubt that anyone will care (especially if theyve previously been discriminated against or harassed by the police). Indeed, a 2014 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that most hate crimes go unreported, and those that are reported are rarely classified as hate crimes by local law enforcement. That finding was further reiterated by a 2016 investigation conducted by the Associated Press, which found that thousands of police and sheriffs departments around the country hadnt reported a single hate crime between 2009 and 2014. Of the 5,462 single-bias hate crimesreported to the FBIin 2014, almost one-fifth were because of the targets real or perceived sexual orientation. But with so many in the LGBT community dealing with intersectional biases, our risks of becoming victims are even higher. Those who study hate crimes often report that when society at large begins to accept a minority, those who hold biases against them feel threatened and lash out. The Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality may have been the dynamite, but the Trump campaign seems to have lit the fuse: Even before the election, jurisdictions were reporting sharp increases in the number of bias based attacks. For example, theLos Angeles Daily News reported, Los Angeles experienced a 15 percent increase in hate crimes in 2016, along with a significant spike in attacks against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities, according to data analyzed by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. The number of reported hate crimes in the county jumped from 200 to 230 in just one year. Brian Levin, the centers director said he was particularly disturbed by the surge in the most violent type of attacks, which are aggravated assaults, which rose nearly 64 percent in 2016, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. Criminal threats rose 33 percent from 27 in 2015 to 36 last year. To help get a better sense of the number and types of hate crimes, and how their frequency has changed since the election, The Advocate is partnering with other media outlets, civil rights groups, and universities on a ProPublicaproject calledDocumenting Hate. This year The Advocate has already increased its coverage of incidents of hate, harassment, and violence targetting LGBT individuals. But to further our understanding of this critical issue we need your help. If you have been the victim of a hate crime: attacked verbally, online, or physically and it seemed motivated by your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, trans status, disability, or religion, please share your story with us by filling in the form below. You can also report if youve witnessed this occurring to someone else. Please include your contact details, so someone can follow up with you. Well be sharing this info with our Documenting Hate partners. We are collecting information about physical assaults, threats, vandalism, and other offenses that meet theFBIs hate crime definition:a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offenders bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. But we also want to know about incidents motivated by hate that may not rise to the legal definition of a crime including online bullying, harassment, and doxxing the public release of your private information including addresses and trans status. (For recommendations on improving your safely check out Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment). Together we can improve our understanding of the true magnitude of the problem and publicize the intensity of the bias directed at the LGBT community.

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Denver hosts first hate crime prevention forum – FOX31 Denver

Please enable Javascript to watch this video DENVER — Community leaders and residents gathered Tuesday for a first-of-its-kind city-hosted forum exploring ways to combat hate crime in Denver. The biggest obstacle facing police and prosecutors is the lack of motivation victims have to report hate crimes, according to officials. The forum, held at First Baptist Church in the Captiol Hill neighborhood, served as an opportunity for community leaders and nonprofits to strive for a better understanding as to why people do not report hate crimes. Organizers said they are working to help victims become more comfortable while encouraging law enforcement to become more approachable. Speakers drew attention to federal statistics showing a rise in hate crimes over the past year. For every hate crime that is reported, many more are not, according to the Denver-based Matthew Shepard Foundation. The foundation wants to understand what motivates people psychologically either to report or to not report, foundation executive director Jason Marsden said. The foundation is conducting an anonymous online survey to find ways to better support victims and improve police relations. Some police relations work is already underway within Colorados largest police department. The Denver Police Department recently installed an LGBTQ community liaison officer and continues to create a partnership with businesses to provide Safe Place reporting sites for victims to seek help. The work of Denver police officers is supported by a team of specially trained hate crime prosecutors, according to Denvers district attorney. Now we have attorneys that work very closely with the Denver Police Department who also have a hate/biased team of detectives, District Attorney Beth McCann said. Over the past year, swastika vandalism has been seen throughout the greater Denver area. Jewish people are just one of the many targets of this type of crime motivated by race, national origin, disability, gender, religion, skin color and/or sexual orientation/identity. Federal crime victimology studies have indicated there may be a quarter of a million people a year who are victims to these types of incidents, Marsden said. Forum organizers said they hope events Tuesday and in the future will not just start a conversation but also have a real impact through education and empowering people to report hate. A new city ordinance in Denver allows municipal judges to hand down longer sentences for people accused of municipal hate crimes.

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Why so many hate crime victims choose not to report – High Country News

This story originally appeared on ProPublica and is republished here with permission as part of the Documenting Hate project, an investigation into underreported hate crimes and bias incidents in America. It is one of the most striking and curious statistics contained in a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report on hate crimes in America: 54 percent of the roughly 250,000 people who said they were victimized in recent years chose not to file a formal complaint with the authorities. The Matthew Shepard Foundation, an advocacy organization based in Colorado that played a role in successfully pushing for national hate crime legislation, has recently tried to better understand the phenomenon. The foundation began asking theDenver residentsnotifying the organization about being victimized to explain why they did or did not report the incident to the police. The effort began in February and so far has produced a modest 15 responses not all of which appear to be crimes. But in a country largely bereft of reliable or probing data on hate crimes, the information collected by the foundation has value. The foundation, which shared its data as part of ourDocumenting Hateproject, agreed to make public some of the responses to the question on reporting to authorities. The responses are anonymous, but they offer glimpses into the mix of forces at work when victims are deciding what to do: confusion about the definition of hate crimes; skepticism of the commitment by law enforcement to aggressively investigate; fear of retaliation. They echo what other organizations have heard through listening sessions, meetings, and the national victims of crime survey responses, said Jason Marsden, the foundations executive director, referencing the Bureau of Justice Statistics report. For one transgender person who reported that homophobic slurs and beer cans were hurled at them, the answer to why they reported the assault to the police was clear: To get these men charged with a crime. For others, there was confusion as to whether what happened to them was worth reporting to the police. One of the responses came from a gay woman who had felt menaced by a drunk man, who screamed at her: You fucking dykes are all going to hell. The woman said her main concern was to flee the scene as quickly as possible. She said it was also far from clear to her that the menacing amounted to a crime, since it was just mean words. It would take a real investigation to answer her uncertainty, but its quite likely the incident didnt qualify as a prosecutable crime. A Hispanic woman walking through her neighborhood wrote that she felt sexually harassed by passengers in a passing car. Working or walking? she said they asked her. She didnt call the cops. It is just expected that women have to deal with this and it is a fact of our lives, she wrote. On a more logistical level, she added, I did not get the license plate number. A gay woman with short hair reported that another woman tried to bar her from entering the womens room at a McDonalds, believing she was transgender. It was pointless to report, she said, though she added she had to physically move the woman from her path. Hate incidents are severely underreported – a new project is trying to fill in those data gaps. Western CT State University/Flickr A number of the respondents did call the police, to mixed effect. A gay, black man at a rally against President Donald Trumps travel ban said a passenger in a passing vehicle threw an egg at his face. When he contacted the Denver Police Department, the dispatcher seemed unsympathetic, he reported. No police officer came to my assistance, although I felt I was in distress. Another gay man said he was followed around a store by an angry man who yelled homophobic slurs at him. I refuse to allow anyone to attack me like this, so I reported it, he wrote. He went on to say, without further explanation, that when it was all over, he wound up being ticketed by the police for disturbing the peace. A disabled lesbian woman in the citys suburbs said a neighbor tried to run her down with his car. She said she wanted to call the police, but that she was afraid. I often think I will not be believed or taken seriously, she wrote. When she called the police anyway, she asked the officers not to confront the man, fearing retaliation for filing a report. I knew that reporting the incident was important both to notify authorities to have the incident documented, to have evidence of harassment on file in the event of a future incident, and because no matter who I am or what my sexuality is, I knew this was wrong and potentially criminal, she wrote. When a recently disabled gay man said he was attacked by another man whod asked for bus fare, he said he was prevented from calling the police by his assailant. Faggot, you calling the police, the man reportedly said as he punched the victim. Luckily, he wrote, someone else called the authorities for him. He thought the cops were great. They were very compassionate, he wrote, adding that the officers offered to have a victim advocate talk with him, and came back later to check on him. In all, most of the people surveyed did not report incidents to the police. My take on the results mostly is that people are not reporting because they just dont think the police are going to take it seriously enough, or they dont think the incident went to that level, said Stephen Griffin, who the foundation contracted with to implement the survey. Christine Downs, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department, said by email that even if a person doesnt believe what happened to them was a crime, they should report the incident to the police. The Denver Police Department strongly encourages all residents to report crime, regardless of how insignificant they may think it is, especially bias-motivated crimes, she said. Marsden, the Matthew Shepard Foundations executive director, plans to try to expand their survey to other cities to keep learning more about why people dont report incidents of hate, and to take what they learn to the police officers they work with. I think that can help keep people safe and help on the prevention side of things, he said. You have to be an optimist in this line of work. This story originally appearedon ProPublicaand is republished here with permission as part ofthe Documenting Hate project, an investigation into underreported hate crimes and bias incidents in America.

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Hate Crimes  Comments Closed

California Hate Crimes Increase by 11 Percent – Santa Barbara Independent

A report released by the California Department of Justice found that hate crimes increased by 11.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, from 837 to 931. Perhaps this report should come as no surprise, given it spanned a year with one of the highest levels of racial discontent since the 1992 Rodney King riots and a presidential candidate who routinely excoriated Mexican immigrants. Racially motivated hate crimes accounted for 55.9 percent of all hate crimes statewide: 48.4 percent were against African Americans, 16 percent were anti-Latino or Hispanic, and 10.8 percent were antiwhite. A fifth involved the victims sexual orientation. (Nationwide, another report shows a 67 percent increase in hate crimes againstMuslims.) The report tracked two hate crimes in Santa Barbara County: One was racially motivated, the otherhomophobic. However, the Santa Barbara Police Department also recorded three hate crimes in 2016 that were not included in the report. All were assaults on men perceived to be gay and took place near State Street in the late afternoon, between June and October. Notably, hate crimes against gay males increased statewide by 40.7 percent thatyear. In 2017 the Santa Barbara District Attorneys Office has already handled three hate crimes. On February 23, a white suspect threatened an Asian man while yelling racial slurs during a vehicle-related altercation. Two days later, at the PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) shelter, a white man threatened an African-American man. Then in April, a 19-year-old Isla Vista resident physically attacked a 63-year-old man while yelling homophobicremarks. In 2008, former President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named after a gay teenager from Wyoming and an African-American man from Texas, respectively, both victims of brutal murders in 1998. The landmark legislation expanded the authority of the FBI to investigate hate crimesnationally. A special report published in June by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that more than half of all violent hate crimes went unreported between 2011 and 2015, based on an annual survey of 90,000 households. Humiliation, concern about retaliation, fear that their identity will be discovered, language barriers, and disabilities are factors that often silence victims and make it difficult to take an accurate pulse on hate crimes in our community, according to Cyndi Silverman, regional director of Santa Barbaras Anti-Defamation League(ADL). Silverman says shes witnessed a marked increase in hate incidents in the last year. Hate incidents, a term used by the ADL, differ from hate crimes in that they do not threaten anyones immediate physical safety but encourage a culture of discrimination and fear, such as when white supremacist posters were found along Cliff Drive near Santa Barbara CityCollege. National civil rights organizations have also reported a significant uptick over the past year, especially in the month immediately following the 2016 presidential election, during which the Southern Poverty Law Center tracked 1,094 incidents. Silverman explained: Theres been an environment in which people have felt empowered to say or do things they wouldnt have done before, that they would have kept under wraps. Maybe this was under the surface, but now its out. She added, Our bubble is not as perfect as wethink. Silverman and Brianna Moffitt, ADLs director of development, also reported xenophobic bullying on Santa Barbara school campuses, with kids telling other classmates to go back to your country. As a result, ADL is partnering with school districts and other groups throughout the tri-county area to host antibias trainings anddialogues. In May, the ADL also held the Together as One community summit, which was attended by about 160 community members ranging from 2 to 97 years of age. The event was designed to encourage dialogues despite differences and help participants identify and unlearn their own implicit biases. On October 29, the ADL will host a second Together as One event, which is free and open to the public. Register at santabarbara.adl.org/together/.

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Hate Crimes  Comments Closed

Jack’d Adds GPS ‘Blurring Feature’ to Protect Gay Americans From Hate Crimes – Advocate.com

Jack’d has added a “blurring feature” to protect its American users from hate crimes. The tool obfuscates the exact location of a user so that others using the gay dating app cannot pinpoint his whereabouts although they can tell if he is nearby. It has previously been employed in antigay nations where this information could place queer people in peril. Thanks to hatred incited by the presidential election, that list now includes the United States. The blurring feature was originally created as a tool to protect gay menin countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt that have a history of violence against the gay community, confirmed Alon Rivel, the app’s director of global marketing, in a statement. Since the 2016 election, however, there has been a surge in bullying and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community in the U.S.,” he continued. “As a result, a growing number of gay men here want to increase their privacy and keep their locations private too. The U.S. election did indeed spark a surge in hate crimes and bullying targeting queer people. The Los Angeles Times reports that crimes against the city’s LGBT population increased by 24.5 percent in 2016. Even LGBT centers, as symbols of the community, have experienced an uptick in attacks and defacement. An arsonist who attacked a Phoenix LGBT center was arrested last weekend. The world will live in is still not LGBTQ tolerant and with 70 percent of our users being young millennials, we have to be proactive in protecting their privacy, said Rivel. In his speech at the Republican National Convention, President Trump vowed to be an ally of the LGBT community, leaving some to hope he might help quell antigay sentiment. However, Trump’s recent acts his silence on the attacks on gay and bi men in Chechnya, his announced intention to ban transgender troops from the U.S. military, and the Justice Department’s claim that the protections ofTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act do not cover gay people have had the opposite effect.

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Hate Crimes  Comments Closed


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