NO HATE: NAACP Tackles Hate Crimes

Since the November election, bigotry has become mainstream: white supremacists march in the streets of Charlottesville, VA and sit in our nation’s highest offices without shame or lasting repercussion. Symbols of the Confederacy abound. As a result, we’ve witnessed a dramatic spike in hate crimes motivated by racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other intolerances.

It’s up to US to stop hate. Join our call to Congress to support the NO HATE Act of 2017.

Hate Crimes in America

The FBI’s 2015 report documented an increase in hate crimes against African Americans, members of the LGBTQ community, Native Americans, Jews, and Muslims. Law enforcement agencies in 2015 submitted incident reports involving 5,850 criminal incidents and 6,885 related offenses motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. 7,173 reported hate crimes were committed against individuals, and another 2,338 were committed against property.

 

Insufficient Hate Crime Reporting

Approximately 250,000 hate crimes take place each year in the United States, but only 2% are reported to the FBI. The Hate Crime Statistics Act (1996) requires the Attorney General to collect data on crimes committed because of the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, but compliance has been disappointing. Dozens of federal law enforcement agencies are not currently reporting hate crimes to the FBI at all.

The FBI’s 2015 report documented 87 major cities that either reported zero hate crimes or simply did not participate in the reporting program. These cities aren’t utopian havens from hate; they simply failed to take the first step towards addressing the hate crime epidemic: report its nature and its magnitude. 

We must incentivize all jurisdictions to report make thorough, accurate reports to the FBI.

 

Inadequate Stave-Level Protection

Several states do not have comprehensive laws to cover all categories of hate crimes, and four states (Georgia, Indiana, Utah, and Wyoming) do not have any hate crimes laws at all. The chart below illustrates the varying strength of states’ hate crime prevention legislation. A state-by-state hate crime laws assessment is available here.

 

Hate Crime Laws by State:

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Our National Office and Washington Bureau are partnering with our state conferences to strengthen hate crime laws and protect the legislation that does exist.

 

A Federal Intervention: NO HATE Act of 2017

The National Opposition to Hate, Assault and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act of 2017, introduced in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) and in the House by Congressman Don Beyer (VA), incentivizes and encourages state and local law enforcement agencies to more comprehensively collect and report credible, reliable hate crimes data to the FBI. It also allows a judge to sentence an individual convicted of perpetrating a hate crime to a period of supervised release that includes community service or education centered on the community targeted by the hate crime.

The NO HATE Act would strengthen the hate crime reporting provision of the Hate Crimes Statistics Act and the implementation of the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009, significantly expands the role that the federal government can play in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, extends the definition of a hate crime to include those motivated by the victim’s disability, gender, or sexual orientation, and provides grants to states to develop hate crime prevention programs.

 

Take Action!

In the face of an administration intent on rolling back so many hard-won civil rights, it is imperative that we take a step forward and strengthen hate crime reporting and prevention legislation.

You can help! Contact your representatives and ask them to co-sponsor the NO HATE Act of 2017.

Raise your voice!

Follow us @NAACP on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and join the conversation with #nohate