Civil and Human Rights Groups Call for Stronger Response to Hate Incidents
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 155 civil and human rights groups Friday called upon the Executive Branch to respond more quickly and forcefully to hate-based incidents, which have been occurring at an alarming rate in recent months.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.
The statement follows:
“Our diversity is part of what makes America great, and incidents motivated by hate are an affront to the values we share. No one should face acts of violence or intimidation because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, or national origin.
Just this year, we have seen an alarming increase in accounts and reports of hate-based acts of violence and intimidation. Some recent examples include:
- The February shooting in Olathe, Kansas, where two Indian Hindu Americans were attacked, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla;
- Four mosques burned in the past two months, in Texas, Washington, and Florida, and more defaced by acts of vandalism;
- Numerous bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and ADL offices around the country;
- The recent shooting in Washington state of a Sikh American outside of his home;
- Racist graffiti targeting African Americans in Stamford, Connecticut and at a high school in Lake Oswego, Oregon;
- An attack on a Latino man in Daly City, California, and an attack on a Hispanic woman in Queens, New York, with both targeted because of their ethnicity;
- The murders of seven transgender women of color, including six African Americans and one Native American.
While we welcome President Trump’s remarks to the joint session of Congress, where he noted ‘we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,’ it was the first public acknowledgement he had made on specific recent events. It is clear that the President has been slow to respond to hate incidents, when he has responded at all. We strongly believe the President has a moral obligation to use his bully pulpit to speak out against acts of hatred when they occur.
Moreover, the President and his surrogates have too frequently used rhetoric and proposed and enacted policies that have fostered a hostile environment toward many, including African Americans, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, and immigrant and refugee communities. The President cannot condemn hate in one sentence and then in the same speech, promote falsehoods that can lead to bias and hate violence.
We as a nation are stronger when we are inclusive. We encourage the President, his staff and members of his Cabinet to condemn hate incidents when they happen. We appreciate Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly’s recent condemnation of these acts and his pledge for support and outreach by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Especially given the unique obligations and responsibilities of the Department of Justice, we strongly urge Attorney General Sessions to take similar actions.
We also urge the President to continue the tradition of a White House interagency task force on hate violence, and make available the full resources of the federal government to track and report hate crimes, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, and to aid affected communities. Our inclusive democracy demands no less.”