Following the release of the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistic Act report on November 12 and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ report “In the Name of Hate: Examining the Federal Government’s Role in Responding to Hate Crimes” on November 13, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) calls on lawmakers to do more to combat hate crimes.
Since 1990, the FBI has been collecting and reporting annual hate crime data. 2018 saw an increase in hate crime violence, including the tragic Tree of Life murders last fall. Further, crimes directed at Hispanic people and LGBTQ people both increased. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights contextualizes this data in its new report, finding that “many Americans are negatively impacted by hate crimes and are fearful of the heightened expression of hate and bigotry in the United States.”
Increasing levels of hate, bigotry, and violence are unacceptable and there is much that Congress and the administration must do to respond. The majority of law enforcement agencies across the country reported zero hate crimes or did not report at all, including major cities like Birmingham, AL, and Newark, NJ. Congress should pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act (S 2043 / HR 3545), which would tie hate crime reporting and training to federal grants, incentivizing data collection. And at every level of government, elected officials must acknowledge that hateful rhetoric targeting people of color and religious minorities creates a culture in which bigotry is emboldened.
The truest way to honor the lives impacted by hate in the United States is to come together to actively fight anti-Semitism, racism, transphobia, xenophobia, and other systems of oppression that undergird society.