Pictured are participants in a three-day Gay Pride festival. (Photo courtesy of the Wichita Eagle)
Since the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, CRS has worked with communities to prevent and resolve violent hate crimes based on members' actual or perceived sexual orientation. By bringing together community members, advocacy organizations, law enforcement, elected officials, and educational institutions, CRS assists communities in developing the capacity to prevent and respond to community tensions based on sexual orientation. CRS assists communities with conflicts related to sexual orientation by:
- Assisting law enforcement, service agencies, and city officials to reform in developing policies, best practices, and trainings for working with gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals to strengthen relations and prevent intentional or unintentional offensive comments or behavior;
- Bringing together community leaders, police, city officials, and civil rights organizations in the aftermath of violent hate crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation to discuss community tension and how to best prevent and respond to similar incidents; and
- Facilitating programs in schools, universities, and other educational institutions to prevent and respond to incidents of bullying and acts of violence against gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.
The following summaries demonstrate how CRS can assist communities experiencing tension and conflict based on sexual orientation. Additional examples can be found within the Agency's Annual Report, which are located on the CRS Resource Center webpage.