The rise in hate and bigotry in our public discourse doesn’t just impact policy in a negative way, it also afflicts a heavy toll on people who become victims of hate crimes, including Arabs, Muslims, South Asians, immigrants and others. That’s why we joined the Department of Justice’s Hate Crime Summit, to enhance efforts to identify, prosecute, and prevent hate crimes, though we were fully aware of the irony of the Trump Administration holding a summit on this topic. You see, this effort goes against the very climate that the Trump Administration itself created around Muslims, immigrants, and other minorities. And then there is the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office in the department of homeland security, which arbitrarily focuses on the crimes of one particular class of people, contributing to the very anti-immigrant hostility that the Justice Department now wants to combat. By the way, do you know who commits fewer crimes than US citizens? Immigrants! But we were there engaging with partner advocates and career professionals who have devoted their careers to the protection of our rights and the prosecution of hate crimes—almost all of whom were there before the Trump Administration and will likely be there long after. So what did we discuss? We talked about the surge in hate post-election and the president’s use of the bully pulpit to increase fear instead of temper it. We talked hate crimes prosecutions and the need for better training, including making sure bigoted material is not part of the curriculum as it has been. We talked about the detrimental role certain police practices, like the demand that local law enforcement act as ICE agents, play in destroying community trust, which in turn reduces reporting of hate crimes. We talked about the need to tie federal resources to local municipalities based on their full participation in reporting hate crimes. We talked about budget allocations matching the rhetoric instead of the cuts we are seeing. We talked about the need to separate hate crimes prosecutions from surveillance of impacted communities. We could keep going but you get the point. 

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