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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Hosts Second Community Hate Crimes Prevention Presentation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Today, Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), announced the completion of an event designed to help community members and leaders have a better understanding of hate crimes and how to report them to law enforcement.

Yesterday evening, EDVA hosted a presentation called “United Against Hate: Identifying, Reporting and Preventing Hate Crimes” at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center. Members of the Richmond community, as well as organizations representing those who are at risk of being targeted in hate crimes, were invited to the event. The goal of this event series is to empower community members to prevent and respond to hate crimes and incidents by meeting and facilitating conversations with the law enforcement members to whom they can direct questions and reports about hate crimes and hate incidents.

“Hate or bias-motivated crimes are some of important crimes that we prosecute in EDVA. All citizens of the Commonwealth and the nation, regardless of their background or identity, deserve to live freely and without fear of discrimination and violence,” said Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The United Against Hate event is only the beginning of many conversations and action steps that our office and our law enforcement partners are taking to increase public awareness about hate crimes and how to report them. EDVA, alongside community organizations such as the Weinstein JCC, encourage the community to come together to call out hatred, report all incidents of hate crimes, and help us create neighborhoods that are safe and welcoming to all.”

The speakers at the event included U.S. Attorney Aber and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Anthony and Nick Durham. Speakers also included law enforcement professionals from the FBI Richmond Field Office and Virginia State Police.

Through hypothetical scenarios and video clips depicting real-life hate crime cases and stories, United Against Hate promotes robust interaction between community members and law enforcement participants. Program topics include defining hate crimes versus hate incidents; the importance of reporting unlawful acts of hate; providing options for responding to hate incidents when situations do not constitute a federal or state crime; and distinguishing unlawful conduct from protected First Amendment activity, including identifying protected speech versus speech that advocates violence or encourages people to commit hate crimes.

To request a United Against Hate presentation at your organization, house of worship, or school, please contact Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Durham, EDVA Civil Rights Coordinator, at (703) 299-3700.

On May 27, 2021, Attorney General Garland issued a memorandum on “Improving the Department’s Efforts to Combat Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents,” which emphasized the importance of prioritizing community outreach around hate crimes. The United Against Hate presentation, developed by the Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative, is designed to meet that objective. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia applied for and was proud to be selected for the first national phase of this important program.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Updated April 18, 2023

Office and Personnel Updates
Hate Crimes