Justice Department officials joined leaders and community partners from the state of Maryland on Monday to announce new federal investments aimed at combatting hate crimes across the country, as well as to highlight current national and local efforts addressing the devastating impact of hate crimes past and present. Maryland was chosen as a host site because the state has become a national model in addressing hate crimes. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta joined Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon, Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown and Acting Director Justin Lock of the Community Relations Service (CRS) in delivering opening remarks for the event.
Associate Attorney General Gupta announced $38 million in fiscal year 2023 DOJ funding will go to law enforcement and community programs and partners nationwide to help communities heal from hate crimes of the past, investigate and prosecute current cases and prevent future hate crimes.
“This is more than we have awarded in the last two years combined, which shows — in real dollars — our continued and increased commitment to this work,” said Associate Attorney General Gupta.
Assistant Attorney General Solomon echoed the Associate Attorney General’s emphasis of current national investments in hate crime prevention, and lauded the innovative work being done in Maryland, referencing the state’s “groundbreaking work … to root out hate and reconcile past wrongs that have left a legacy of pain in local communities.”
Acting Director Lock highlighted a growing partnership between hate crime grantees and the CRS, while Maryland Attorney General Brown spoke to the importance of federal funding in shaping the state’s approach to hate crime. Office of Justice Program (OJP) grants helped establish the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first body of its kind in the United States.
Opening speakers and the announcement of grant awards were followed by an expert panel discussion dedicated to addressing hate crimes. The panel was moderated by Director Karhlton F. Moore of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Panel participants included Chief Zenita Wickham Hurley of the Office of Equity, Policy and Engagement, Maryland Office of the Attorney General; Director Dr. Nancy La Vigne of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ); Executive Director Renee Battle-Brooks of the Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights; Chair Dr. David Fakunle of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission Representing the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum; and Deputy Director Sarah Mersky Miicke of the Baltimore Jewish Council.
Deputy Associate Attorney General Saeed Mody provided closing remarks for the event, noting the rise in hate crimes in recent years, including the record number reported in 2022. He reinforced the department’s unwavering commitment to combating hate through federal law enforcement efforts and federal resources that support state and local community-based organizations and law enforcement agency partners.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime; advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims; and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
The Justice Department, through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a program office of its Office of Justice Programs, and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), today announced the launch...