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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Partners With Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools To Host Summit For High School Students As Part Of “United Against Hate” Initiative

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
Students Collaborated on Building An Inclusive and Equitable School Culture and Promoting A Positive Climate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Dena J. King announced today that her Office partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to host a youth engagement summit for high school students, as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office “United Against Hate” (UAH) initiative.

Approximately 150 students selected from Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools attended the summit, which was held at Queens University Sports Complex and Conference Center. The goal of the summit was to provide instruction and information to students on identifying, reporting, and preventing hate crimes and other civil rights violations; encourage students to share their experiences and exchange ideas on how to promote a positive environment within their schools; and help students develop solutions for building inclusive and equitable schools for everyone. 

“Today, we empowered our students to think as future leaders in our communities. We challenged them to understand their role as agents for change. And we dared them to dream of building a society where hate has no place. I call upon all students to find their voice and speak out against hate wherever they see it – even when it’s not directed at them. I also urge students to reject hate and to join me in making inclusion and equality our common goal and our shared responsibility.”                                           

Dena J. King, United States Attorney

Over the course of the program, students were presented information by Alex Pyun, with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services; Haeley Robinson with Time Out Youth; John Coucelman with CMS; and Daniel Cervantes with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

During the program’s interactive group sessions, students discussed their concerns about their schools’ current culture and brainstormed on ways to help support each other and their classmates in creating a better school experience. Students were also challenged to think about how they can best utilize the information they acquired to develop action plans to address the needs of their schools. 

Today’s summit was part of a series of planned outreach and educational events conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as part of the Justice Department’s UAH initiative, a nationwide program created to combat the rise in unlawful acts of hate.

On May 27, 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued a memorandum on improving the Justice Department’s efforts to combat unlawful acts of hate, and emphasized the need to actively engage in outreach and educational efforts centered around hate crimes.

In the Western District of North Carolina, the UAH initiative comprises a series of events focusing on community groups at risk of being targeted in hate crimes and incidents of hate. The goal is to give participants an opportunity to directly connect with federal prosecutors and law enforcement to increase community understanding of hate crimes and hate incidents; provide a mechanism for reporting potential hate crimes and civil rights violations; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances with government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked Queens University for hosting the summit and giving the students an opportunity to gather, and Pivotal Health Solutions for providing mental health resources for the students. U.S. Attorney King also thanked Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Time Out Youth, and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services for their participation and support of this important initiative.

In the coming months, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will hold additional UAH events to engage with more communities throughout the Western District of North Carolina.

Updated May 23, 2023

Community Outreach