Tackling hate crime with billboards, social media posts

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The Justice Department on Monday announced a national campaign to combat hate crimes after the FBI released new data showing a 13% uptick in incidents last year compared to 2019.

Jay Greenberg, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said during a DOJ virtual anti-hate crime conference that the initiative will be focused on area-specific efforts, including billboards, social media posts and national-local partnerships.

“Every hate crime that’s motivated [in] bias is an attack against an entire community and not just an attack on a single person, and we’re here to support those entire communities,” Mr. Greenberg said.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to The Washington Times request for comment on Monday regarding what the campaign will entail, when it will be launched, how long it will run, and what it will cost.

The agency’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report from August was updated this week after it said there was a “technical issue” with data submitted by Ohio last year.

The new report shows hate crimes increased from 7,314 incidents in 2019 to 8,263 in 2020, with hate crimes targeting Asian Americans almost doubling, from 158 to 279, and crimes targeting Blacks up from 2,391 to 3,915.

In June, the FBI ranked hate crimes and civil-rights violations as a top national threat priority, allowing the agency to funnel more money and resources toward two issues seen as political priorities for President Biden and for Democrats in Congress.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

The Stop AAPI Hate organization, which reported 9,081 hate incidents between March 2020 to June 2021, says more legislative action is needed to address the “root causes of systemic racism and oppression.”

The national coalition argues that because the legislation is focused on criminal law enforcement agencies for solutions, it will not fully address the “overwhelming majority of incidents reported to our site which are not hate crimes, but serious hate incidents.”

“Throughout the pandemic, rhetoric about the Chinese government’s potential role in COVID-19’s origins has inspired hate, racism and discrimination towards our Asian American and Pacific Islander community,“ said co-founder Russell Jeung, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate. “Unfortunately, our data shows this trend is continuing today.”

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