As 2016 draws to a close, the Anti-Defamation League is counting down the major milestones we accomplished this year in the fight against hate.
This year, there was troubling news about hate crimes – criminal acts against a person or property because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity.
Swastika found spray-painted in Mineola, New York.
Since the 2016 election, spasms of bigotry and hate, from swastikas to youths trying to tear off a teenager’s hijab, have shaken community after community, instilling fear and sowing division across the country.
This is not a new issue for ADL.
Facing these new threats, ADL has stepped up on multiple levels:
- Our regional offices have called out hate crimes and provided assistance – regardless of the target’s identity. We also created on online form for reporting hate incidents and encouraged social media users to promote the hashtag #ExposeHate
- We redoubled our efforts to strengthen state hate crime laws and response. Our #50StatesAgainstHate coalition, now comprised of three dozen national organizations, worked even harder to pass hate crime laws in states that don’t have them (Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Wyoming) and improve data collection and response to hate violence in the states that do.
- When the FBI’s most recent hate crimes data revealed extensive underreporting of hate crimes, ADL called on the police to do more to gather these statistics, and vowed to make better hate crimes reporting a “significant priority” going forward.
- In Europe, underreporting of hate crimes was an even bigger problem. A report put together by ADL and Human Rights First found that half of the 57 nations in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) did not submit hate crimes data to the organization, or reported zero hate crimes (an unlikely statistic). “This is simply not acceptable or credible,” ADL stated.
- We also entered into a new partnership with data.world which allowed us to put hate crimes data from the FBI and ADL onto an open-source online workspace that anyone can use – free – to study hate crime trends in real-time. The workspace has already been used to highlight the relationship of hate crime laws to hate crime incidents, state by state.
Why the emphasis on reporting hate crime numbers? “Data dictates policy,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Knowing which locations have a hate-crime problem, and how big it is, is one of the first steps to preventing hate crimes in the future.
This should be a high priority for everyone in 2017.