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Demonstrators in London last year hold a vigil for the victims of the Orlando nightclub attack. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/flickr/cc)

Communities Against Hate: New Resource Raises Visibility of Hate Crimes

'Public sharing changes how people talk about violence and harassment and pushes society towards solutions'

Andrea Germanos

A new initiative aims to to address what it describes as a "disturbing spike in hate incidents across the United States" with a database and hotline to help impacted communities and document the bigotry.

Communities Against Hate was led by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, working with nine other national organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change, Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network, and National Network for Arab American Communities.

An interactive map shows communities coast to coast where people have already reported hate incidents. It documents, for example, incidents late last month when a Harrisburg, Penn. Jewish community center was forced to close because of a bomb threat and when a Wisconsin LGBT community center was vandalized for the third time in two months.

Users can submit an incident that happened to them or that they witnessed on the reporting page, which states: "By reporting your story here, you are helping to connect and amplify incidents of hate across communities in the United States, empowering others to feel less alone, and encouraging them to share their stories. Public sharing changes how people talk about violence and harassment and pushes society towards solutions."

The initiative also encourages the use of the hotline 1-844-9-NO-HATE (1-844-966-4283) to help victims access support through legal resources and social services.

A press release announcing the initiative describes it as "especially critical in the current social climate."

"Acts of hate not only devastate individuals, but also target entire communities, threatening to undermine the most basic tenets of our democracy. Now is the time for communities to come together to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund.

The new resource comes on the heels of the kickoff of the American Civil Liberties Union's People Power project, whose first initiative focuses on creating "freedom cities" to counter President Donald Trump's "mass deportation agenda."

"On immigration, just like activists organized locally to demand the release of people detained at our airports by federal authorities, People Power activists we will organize in our communities to ensure that our local law enforcement officials defend—not threaten—our friends, families, and neighbors. People Power will be a powerful grassroots force supporting the ACLU's efforts to propose, support, and win local laws that make it more difficult for President Trump to pursue his dangerous agenda. And make no mistake about it, America's cities, counties, and towns are places we can and will win," the People Power website states.

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