Description

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed an increase in violent hate crimes across America. The litany of names has become familiar. Along with the brutal, hate-motivated murders of James Byrd Jr. in Texas, Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, and Billy Jack Gaither in Alabama, hate-motivated attacks continue to strike fear into the hearts of many different communities.  Particularly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, hate-based attacks upon Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs increased at a frightening rate.

Antisemitism, white supremacy, and other forms of bigotry have all risen dramatically in the U.S. in recent years, as shown by the FBI Hate Crimes Statistics (required under the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act). Collecting accurate information about these hate crimes, government and non-governmental organizations can better plan and program educational activities to combat hatred.

While hate crime laws cannot eliminate bigotry, legislation serves as a deterrent to those individuals who choose to act on their hatred by imposing stricter penalties against the perpetrators of these crimes. Although the stricter punishment is critical, the goal of hate crimes laws is often tied to the idea of educating perpetrators, law enforcement officers, and the general public about the scourge of hate in our society.

What's New

Two Out of Two

February 15, 2022
As a graduate of both Tougaloo College and Jackson State University, the recent bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are personal to me. Since January 2022, over a dozen HBCUs have received bomb threats; several of those threats were received on the first day of Black history month. The continuous attacks on institutions of higher learning; places of worship and individual attacks are a direct threat to our everyday existence.

"Unite the Right" Organizers Lose Big in Court

December 13, 2021
Amy Spitalnick is the executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA), the civil rights nonprofit behind Sines v. Kessler - the successful federal lawsuit against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. I sat down with Amy, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, to get her views on the significance of this lawsuit.

A Letter to My Charlottesville Congregation

October 27, 2021
I write this as the Sines vs. Kessler trial commences. This long-awaited lawsuit seeks to hold the organizers of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally accountable for their actions. Bone-chilling evidence will be presented in this trial that will make us realize how close we came to experiencing an even greater tragedy than the death of Heather Heyer and the wounding of so many others.