The Fight Back Against Hate Crime

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse
By Anthony Crider (Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally)

By Anthony Crider (Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally)

Following the events of Charlottesville, and the ongoing necessity of the Black Lives Matter movement, many people feel scared to so much as make eye contact with the wrong people. It might be even worse in public when, spurred by President Trump’s inaction over Charlottesville, promoters of hate speech feel more justified and protected. Fortunately, even with the alleged backing of the most powerful office, this hate speech is still far from legal.

According to Equalityhumanrights.com, “Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s: disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity. Hate crimes and hate incidents can hurt people and leave them feeling confused and frightened.” Incidents of hate crime can include verbal abuse, physical assault, domestic abuse, harassment and damage to property. Since President Trump’s inauguration, the number of hate groups specifically targeting Muslims in the US has nearly tripled in the past year with Islamophobic hate crime soared, according to an article in The Independent earlier this year. The number of hate groups in general had started to rise back in 2016 during Trump’s election campaign, and this year it has risen from 892 to 917.

Despite the bleakness of the situation, the average citizen is not helpless to prevent hate crime. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 permits federal prosecution of anyone who “willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person’s race, color, religion or national origin”. In the US, 45 states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of “bias-motivated violence or intimidation”, better known as hate crimes. Whether they are victims, or witnesses of hate crime, citizens have a right and a duty to report the crime. The Southern Poverty Law Centre is one company that uses litigation, education and other forms of advocacy to fight against hate and bigotry in the United States. They monitor hate groups throughout the United States, and expose their activities to the public, the media, and law enforcement. Even individual citizens are fighting hate within the United States.

Read  You've Been Charged with a Crime. Now What?

Within days of Trump winning the US election, a worldwide protest was organised for the day following his inauguration. Teresa Shook, from Hawaii, created a Facebook event and invited friends to march on Washington to protest some of the policies Trump had already promised to implement regarding women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. The event gained so much popularity that it turned into a worldwide march on January 21 2017.

Although the headlines and new policies aren’t favorable to minorities or people in vulnerable positions, the population at large seems to be arming themselves with the real facts about immigration, religion, human rights, and current events. Overwhelmingly, people refuse to be lied to by those in office, and they have decided to unite with their fellow human beings.

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.