US attorney announces launch of anti–hate crime initiative in NJ

NEWARK, NJ — U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger recently announced his office’s participation in a first of its kind, anti–hate crime outreach program, titled United Against Hate, which seeks to directly connect federal, state and local law enforcement with traditionally marginalized communities in order to build trust and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and incidents.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division joined Sellinger, acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and FBI acting Special Agent in Charge Terence Reilly on April 20 to announce their federal and state partnership on this new initiative. After they spoke to an audience of community leaders, civil rights advocates and community members, subject matter experts from their offices engaged in a presentation and direct discussions with community leaders and advocates about taking steps to identify, report and prevent hate crimes and incidents.

“Hate crimes and discrimination are antithetical to the core principles underlying our democracy,” Sellinger said. “No one should ever be subject to acts of discrimination or hate because of where they are from, what they look like, whom they love or how they worship. In response to a dramatic increase in hate crimes and hate incidents, we are launching the United Against Hate initiative in New Jersey. Combating hate crimes, hate incidents and discrimination is core to our mission and, through dynamic outreach and prevention efforts, we are eager to take steps to combat hate beyond prosecution.”

“The U.S. Department of Justice continues to marshal all resources at its disposal to hold people who engage in unlawful, bias-motivated acts of hate accountable,” Clarke said. “Through United Against Hate, we are bringing together the Justice Department, local law enforcement and community leaders to strengthen our overall efforts to combat hate crimes and prevent hate incidents. Our communities, schools, workplaces and homes are all safer when we stand unified in the fight against hate.”

“The ripple effect of hate crimes is felt hundreds, even thousands of miles away. People who identify with those victims see themselves and wonder ‘will it happen here?’ and ‘will I be next?’” Reilly said. “The Constitution of the United States grants us many freedoms. When any one of those freedoms — or any other constitutional right — is threatened or violated, we have to respond. And when I say ‘we,’ I’m not speaking just as a member of the FBI. I’m speaking as a member of the community. Because if we don’t respond, we risk the erosion of our very identity as a nation. That’s why the FBI embarked on a hate crimes awareness campaign last year. We want people to call us if they have witnessed or been subjected to a hate crime.”

“The numbers are clear. Hate and bias are at an all-time high across our nation and in New Jersey,” Platkin said. “One of the strongest tools we have at our disposal is the collaboration between government and community stakeholders. That is why I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with federal and state partners who share the same commitment and urgency to stem the tide of hate.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey was chosen as one of three districts, out of 94 districts in the nation, to advance the United Against Hate outreach initiative. The U.S. Attorney’s Office plans to engage with communities across New Jersey to deepen connections with those communities, further hate crime prevention efforts, and encourage more people to report hate crimes and incidents.

Members of the public should report possible civil rights violations at or to the U.S. Attorney’s civil rights hotline at 855-281-3339.