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DETROIT - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan partnered with the Urban League of Detroit and Southeast Michigan to host “United Against Hate,” the first of a series of community forums designed to educate the public about civil rights enforcement tools available to address hate crimes, bias incidents, and discrimination. The event, held today at the Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, featured presentations from Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Office’s Civil Rights Unit and an FBI Special Agent who investigates civil rights crimes.
“Combatting hate crimes and bias incidents is one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice and one of my top priorities as United States Attorney,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison. “We are excited to bring this new training to the Eastern District of Michigan and thankful to the Urban League and Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church for facilitating our first United Against Hate event.”
The United Against Hate Community Outreach Program aims to improve hate crime reporting by teaching community members how to identify, report, and help prevent hate crimes. The program also aims to build trust between law enforcement and diverse communities in the region. United Against Hate shares resources to combat hate and encourages discussion between representatives from law enforcement, community organizations, and members of the public. United Against Hate emphasizes that while some hate-fueled incidents—standing alone—may not be a crime, people should still report those incidents to local law enforcement and the FBI. Through using hypothetical scenarios and video clips depicting real-life hate crime cases and stories, the presenters emphasized the importance of reporting unlawful acts of hate. They also highlighted differences between hate crimes versus bias incidents and provided options for responding to bias incidents when situations do not constitute a federal or state crime. Presenters also distinguished unlawful conduct from protected First Amendment activity, including identifying protected speech versus speech that advocates violence or constitutes criminal threats.
As part of its United Against Hate Community Outreach Program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will engage with communities across the Eastern District of Michigan by hosting additional events in the coming months to deepen connections with those communities, further hate crimes prevention efforts, and encourage more people to report hate crimes, bias incidents, and discrimination.