Research indicates that thousands of people every year are victims of hate crime. For every reported case of hate violence, there are countless unreported incidents of hate based violence. The hate crime phenomenon presents complex and agonizing problems to countless communities nationwide. The problem has become more visible as federal and state officials increasingly track hate violence.
Some assert that, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual hate crime report offers the most comprehensive national picture currently available on the magnitude of this pressing problem. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SCLC) also monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and expose their activities. Research indicates that “…there are 932 known hate groups operating across the country, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, and others.” (Southern Poverty Law Center) The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there are 28 known hate groups in the state of Pennsylvania alone. According to the research done on this phenomenon by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups is growing. American communities have learned that failure to address hate-based crimes can cause an isolated incident to result in widespread tension.
Hate crimes are unique because they have a special emotional and physical impact that extends beyond the original victim. Bias crimes intimidate others in the victim’s community, causing them to feel isolated, vulnerable, and unprotected by the legal system. By making members of a specific group fearful, angry and suspicious, these crimes polarize cities and damage the very fabric of our society.
While hate violence makes headlines, the positive actions of people across our nation are creating a different story. These people include but are not limited to a movement called Not In Our Town. Like other groups battling hate based violence, Not In Our Town highlights communities working together to stop hate. Not In Our Town videos and broadcasts highlight and celebrate people who have developed creative anti-bias programs and responses. The stories chronicled by Not In Our Town have served to motivate many others to develop their own innovative initiatives which overpower the hateful actions and voices in their communities. Hate violence can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action.
The non-profit sector offers information, education, and activism against hate violence. The list below contains a few of the organizations that offer resources or help communities respond to hate activities. Many of the national organizations listed below have local chapters. A brief list of national organizations battling hate based violence include but is not limited to:
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Combats media stereotyping, defamation, and discrimination against Americans of Arab descent through legal action and education.
American Jewish Committee
Published, What to Do When the Militia Comes to Town
Combats anti-semitism and racial supremacist ideology, published Hate Crimes Laws: A Comprehensive Guide.
Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund
Community education, legal counseling and advocacy on behalf of victims of anti-Asian violence.
Center For Democratic Renewal
Published When Hate Groups Come to Town: A Handbook of Effective Community Responses.
Center for New Community
Publishes special reports on anti-immigrant groups.
Choosing to Participate
Traveling exhibition featuring events in time when individuals and communities made decisions affecting the course of history.
Points of Light Foundation
Sponsors national “Join Hands Day”
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Published, Law Enforcement Official’s Guide to the Muslim Community.
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
Fights hate crime; monitors attacks on civil liberties.
The National Urban League
Increasing civil rights, educational and financial opportunities for African Americans through programs and research.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Support for families of Gays and Lesbians with hundreds of local chapters.
Political Research Associates
Think-tank monitoring the full spectrum of hate organizations.
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Legal assistance and educational outreach for Sikh Americans. Civil rights advocacy.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Reports on hate crime and advances the legal rights of victims of injustice. Home of Klanwatch.)
Study Circles Resource Center
Helps communities and organizations begin small democratic, discussion groups that can make significant progress on difficult issues including race.)
100 Black Men of America
Helps young African Americans to overcome financial and cultural obstacles through mentoring, anti-violence, education and economic development programs.
Source(s): Southern Poverty Law Center, FBI Hate Crimes Annual Report, 100 Black Men of America, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Study Circles Resource Center, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Center For Democratic Renewal, Choosing to Participate, NAACP, National Urban League, Connect America, PFLAG, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Photo credit Microsoft Clip Art