Posted on March 29, 2019 in Press Releases


March 29, 2019

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner | | (202) 429-9210

AAI Testifies at Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, AAI Policy Analyst Kai Wiggins provided written and oral testimony to the Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in a public briefing seeking to examine hate crimes in the state. 

During his testimony, Wiggins provided a general overview of the national hate crime reporting and data collection system as it currently operates before turning to a specific case study of the historic and currently-operational legal framework for addressing, preventing, and/or responding to hate crime in Virginia. Wiggins highlighted that:

“According to the state police, 207 hate crimes were reported in Virginia in 2017. While the report provides breakdowns according to offense and bias motivation, agency-specific data are not provided. As a result of a public records request, we discovered that the Charlottesville Police Department reported no hate crimes between August 10 and 12, 2017, coinciding with the now-infamous “Unite the Right” rally and the killing of Heather Heyer. Although we reached out to the Charlottesville Police Department in regard to this apparent oversight, the response we received was inconclusive. Given they were omitted from state UCR hate crime statistics, the events in Charlottesville were not reflected in the federal government’s annual hate crime report.”

The testimony provided for this hearing, available in full here, was given as part of a larger effort by the Arab American Institute Foundation to better understand how the lack of accurate hate crime reporting impacts communities.

Our 2017 report, Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans 1991-2016, identifies target areas for improvement and provides state-based recommendations. Complete with ratings for each state based on its overall response, this resource guide can be used to empower readers throughout the United States to advocate for a better response to hate crime in their communities.



Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit