Why does AAI care about reporting hate crimes?
It is problematic that hate crimes are massively underreported across the country, and AAI is working toward a more accurate understanding of the present landscape of hate in the United States toward all impacted communities. Such an understanding would highlight the need for greater legislative protections for impacted communities and social awareness of the challenges of communities commonly targeted by hate.
How can AAI, based in DC, understand the dynamics in my community?
AAI recognizes that communities across the country face greater challenges with respect to local law enforcement and governance than much of what occurs in Washington, DC. As such, our organization will merely function as a facilitator for discussions about reporting hate crimes at the local level. Community engagement is vital in identifying needs, challenges, and avenues of reform in each locality. AAI wishes to use our national network of active community organizers to help support local advocacy.
How is AAI cooperating with law enforcement through the #ReportHate Project?
AAI is creating a space where dialogue can occur between community advocates and government officials which have a role in reporting, investigating, or prosecuting hate crimes. While successful prosecution of hate crimes is not possible without them, law enforcement is involved in the dialogue only to the extent to which community advocates feel comfortable. Our work with local law enforcement is driven by our community partners, and by the ways in which the law enforcement offices can support our collective goals.
What is the role of law enforcement within the #ReportHate Project? Why are law enforcement agencies included?
Law enforcement agencies have a central role in reporting, investigating, or prosecuting hate crimes. As such, it is important to shed light on the experiences of community members in the presence of those entrusted to serve and protect them, especially in communities where relationships are strained.
As each agency has varying relationships and levels of trust with communities frequently targeted by hate crimes, we offer the communities a chance to express their recommendations in our webinars, which occur before our Working Group meeting and do not include government officials. Based on the feedback, we determine which principals to reach out to from the following offices: U.S. District Attorneys, Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, State Attorneys General, relevant state-level offices, state police departments, County District Attorneys, relevant county-level offices, County Sheriffs’ Offices, Mayoral Offices, relevant city-level government offices, local police departments, and relevant precinct-level offices.
Who is AAI inviting to participate in the #ReportHate Project?
AAI will invite a wide range of civil society and advocacy organizations in each locality to create an inclusive coalition which represents the broad spectrum of targeted communities in the United States. Such a broad coalition will allow for collaboration, resource sharing, and coordinated advocacy, leading to increased reporting of hate crimes and infrastructure to combat bias-motivated incidents.
What will happen after the initial Working Group meeting ends?
AAI hopes that each initial Working Group meeting is the beginning of a renewed conversation surrounding hate crimes in each locality, creating new intersectional alliances, informing communities of avenues of advocacy and reform, and shedding light on community concerns for government officials. Next steps will be discussed at each meeting, allowing for the communities to drive what follow-up is necessary moving forward to better inform and empower their constituent members. These next steps will be influenced in part by each individual state’s existing hate crime statutes and reporting requirements.