Hate Crime Forums
Hate Crimes Forums
The U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service (CRS) facilitates forums across the country that convene local and federal law enforcement and community-based organizations in educational discussions. In the forums, information is shared about hate crime laws and reporting, as well as approaches to combat and respond to bias incidents and hate crimes. These forums also provide the opportunity for law enforcement and community members to network and strengthen relationships.
Hate Crimes Forum participants discuss federal laws, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, as well as state and local hate crimes laws and the way these laws impact their communities. The forums provide participants with a structured, interactive, and educational discussion focused on past hate crimes and incidents, and solutions on how to move forward as a community.
On November 9, 2018, CRS facilitated a forum at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, for 25 members of the university community. University leaders requested the program following a series of hate incidents on campus and in the community that targeted victims based on their actual or perceived religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. They wanted to provide the campus community with an opportunity to receive accurate information about hate crimes, including what qualifies as a hate crime, how law enforcement responds to alleged hate crimes, and from whom community members can seek assistance.
The forum featured three panels. The first panel featured law enforcement, including prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the Denver District Attorney’s Office and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) representative. The panel addressed the legal issues surrounding hate crimes, as well as law enforcement resources available to victims and what steps someone could take if they believe they are the victim of a hate crime or incident.
A community panel included students and local leaders. This panel discussed their personal experiences of being targeted by hate and how these incidents affected the panelists’ sense of wellbeing, safety, and inclusion.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management joined community leaders for a final panel on available resources to assist victims and participated in a question-and-answer session.
CRS’s Hate Crimes Forums are public events that provide community members, public officials, and other interested parties with the chance to:
- Network with subject matter experts to share ideas, best practices, and resources to prevent and respond to bias incidents and hate crimes.
- Improve understanding of local, state, and federal hate crimes laws and ways to report suspected hate crimes.
- Form a working group to address hate crimes issues in the community.
- Identify resources, programs, and tools to help prevent and respond to bias incidents and hate crimes.
Go to the Upcoming Events page of the Hate Crimes website (https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/upcoming-events) and follow CRS on Twitter to stay informed on about planned Hate Crimes Forums and other CRS programs https://twitter.com/doj_crs.