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SCRANTON - United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office held an event at the Central York High School to promote the Department of Justice’s United Against Hate initiative. The event, which included federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, focused on educating students on how to identify, report, and prevent hate crimes.
In its auditorium and broadcasted to all of their classrooms, the Central York High School hosted subject matter experts from the United States Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office; the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police, the City of York, York City Human Relations, the York County District Attorney’s Office, and other local law enforcement. Presenters highlighted differences between hate crimes versus hate incidents and provided options for responding to hate 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 encourages people to commit hate crimes.
U.S. Attorney Karam previously hosted meetings in November 2022, in the Harrisburg area with an audience of various law enforcement agencies and community leaders from across the mid-state, March 2023, at Scranton High School for students and community leaders, and December 2023 in Harrisburg and Scranton with Jewish leaders. The United Against Hate initiative seeks to strengthen collaborative relationships of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with communities in order to build trust and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents.
“As our country has seen increased incidents of hate since October 7, 2023, the importance of identifying, reporting, and preventing hate crimes continues to be a priority,” said U.S. Attorney Karam. “As we strengthen our partnerships with state and local law enforcement and community partners, we also include our district’s high school students, our future leaders in that partnership. By reaching out to students, we provide them the tools to prevent further hate incidents that violate the fundamental principal of democracy.”
As part of its United Against Hate programming, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to partner with communities across the Middle District of Pennsylvania to expand connections with those communities, further hate crimes prevention efforts, and encourage more people to report hate crimes and hate incidents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is currently scheduling events at other district high schools and will soon meet with Islamic leaders.
Those who believe they are subject to hate crimes or incidents should contact local law enforcement and the FBI. Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/. Anyone in the Middle District of Pennsylvania may also report civil rights violations to the Civil Rights coordinator of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by calling 717-614-4911 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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