Illinois Attorney General holds roundtable on combatting hate crime

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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul convened a roundtable meeting on Tuesday with representatives of civil rights organizations, places of worship and community-based groups to for a conversation on fighting hate speech and violence. 

“I have made it a priority since taking office to ensure we are working in a comprehensive way to address the tragic rise in hate speech that often is directed at specific communities and can include violence,” Raoul said. “Collaborating with organizations on the ground working to advance justice and equality is vital as we look to continue focusing on confronting hate in all of its forms.”

Participating in the roundtable discussion were representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, Bright Star Community Church, Chinese American Service League, Equality Illinois, Equip for Equality, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation of Chicago, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

During the meeting, representatives from organizations in attendance described the issues facing the communities they serve, including threats based on immigration status, targeted acts of violence against faith-based communities, and coordinated attempts by extremist groups to restrict members of the LGBTQ community from using public spaces. The groups pointed out that such acts are often accompanied with hate speech.  

Raoul said that the Attorney General’s office is doing the following:

  • Partnering with the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) since 2019 to hold trainings on behavioral threat assessment designed to help prevent mass casualty attacks.
  • Continuing to monitor progress of the Chicago Police Department to enact key consent decree reforms aimed at improving hate crime reporting and accountability and transparency with the public.
  • Filing the Attorney General office’s first hate crime lawsuit against a mother and son who harassed and terrorized their Black neighbor in downstate Savanna.
  • Advocating with fellow attorneys general in support of the rights of LGBTQ+ students.

The state Civil Rights Bureau enforces state and federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination and hate crimes in Illinois. People who experience or witness hate crimes should contact local law enforcement. They can also report discrimination or hate-motivated incidents by visiting the attorney general website, emailing [email protected] or by calling the Civil Rights Hotline at (877) 581-3692.

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