tv Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on Hate Crimes CSPAN April 28, 2019 1:44am-3:15am EDT
many people who are motivated to live in the right relationship with each other and do good. theyis hard for them, don't have a lot of money, but they lead very inspiring lives. >> david brooks, sunday night on "q&a." wednesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, attorney general william barr will testify before the senate judiciary committee about the motor report. 9:00 a.m. eastern, he will testify before the house oniciary committee live c-span3, c-span.org, and listen on the three c-span radio app. >> the lawyers committee for civil rights under law posted this discussion on hate crimes and a rise in white supremacist attacks in the u.s. since the 2016 election. this is 90 minutes. >> let's get started.
today we are pleased to be joined by a panel of wonderful experts. bios are on the flyer you receive it we have -- received. we have christian clark, kathy wilson, and maya berry. each panelist will come up to the podium and provide opening remarks, and then we will open the floor to questions. everyone should have a no card in their chair, these are for questions. if you have a question, jot it on the no card and raise it up, and one of the team members will collected from you. if the team members can raise your hand quickly so everyone knows. great. we look forward to their conversation and i will turn it over to christian.
>> good afternoon. welcome and thank you for being here today. my name is kristin clark, i am president and director for the lawyers committee for civil law. we are a racial justice organization created at the behest of john f. kennedy. racial to fight for justice and come to the aid of victims of discrimination. our work today to combat hate crimes and the rise in white supremacy stands among our most important work. do our stop hate project, we lead one of the most comprehensive anti-hate and anti-extremist programs in the country. with survivors to our hotline, and training law enforcement and prosecutors through a partnership with the international association of
chiefs of police, to pushing reform in the tech sector and using the courts to hold white accountable, our project works to confront hate every day. i want to briefly recognize nadia and the rest of our team helping to lead that important work. before thetestified house judiciary committee on april 9, and i want to share some brief observations about that hearing. first, the committee should be applauded for bringing attention to an issue that has truly reached a crisis level in our country. the hearing featured testimony from a survivor who lost family members, and featured the voices of advocates on the front line of this work. and then there were two witnesses who sought to derail the conversation, frankly, one by promoting lies about muslims and their religious leaders.
the statements were intended to dehumanize them and contribute to a climate of hate. and another that believe hate crimes are lies and not real, thereby discounting the experiences of survivors and tragedies endured by those who have lost loved ones to hate. today, we will not be derailed and we will remain august on the crisis in front of us. we know well that hate crimes are real, from the nooses hung in workplaces to do jobs -- to hijabs pulled off of the women's heads, to racial epithets hurled at students, to burning churches. we know that hate is not a thing of the past but a crisis that sadly defines where we are today in america. as we continue to witness the rise in rates go -- racial violence and escalating levels
of xenophobia, homophobia, and more, it is important we understand the root of this crisis and use of that foundation to identify effective strategies for combating the scourge of hate we are up against today. white supremacy has been a persistent threat to the democratic ideals of our country since the time of our founding. african americans in particular have experienced generations of racial terror come from the moment the first enslaved people were brought to our shores for hundred years it -- 400 years ago. there were over 4700 reported lynchings in the country, and the majority of victims were black. since the fbi began publishing in 1995, we crimes
know that african-americans remain the single group most frequently targeted for hate. datad, the latest fbi shows a 17% increase between 2016 and 2017. among othere, tensions, has led to unimaginable tragedy for communities of color here and across the globe. in today's national climate, which often fosters discrimination and emboldens hate, is not surprising we are seeing an increase in reported hate crimes, and bearing witness in particular to a spike in organized white supremacist movements. these cancerous efforts are tearing at the fabric of our nation. without question, they are using online platforms to recruit new members, fundraisers, activate followers to target communities, to organize hate rallies, and insight violence.
instead of hiding under hoods, they organize behind computer screens. many have sought to rebranded themselves to become more palatable to broader audiences, but regardless of what you call them, white nationalists, kkk, they all pose the same grave threat today. the actions of online white supremacists may be new inform but not in substance. they follow the same script as generations of white supremacists who assaulted civil rights activists at lunch counters, those who bombed houses of worship, and berated black children on the way to school. congress must address this interference with a person's ability to engage in the digital public square.
congress has addressed the challenge before and ended racial segregation with the enactment of public accommodations laws, many of which don't apply online. we need similar tools that can help us fully confront the threat we are up against today. consistent with the first amendment, congress should extend public accommodations protections to businesses that have moved to providing goods and services online. this action would make it clear that interference with equal participation in the digital public square is no more acceptable than discrimination in brick and mortar commerce. we encourage adoption of the online civil rights and privacy act of 2019. the goal of this bill is to antidiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions together with privacy protections in order to give congress a comprehensive privacy
model that prioritizes civil rights. the philosophy behind this bill is to apply time-tested rick and mortar civil rights protections to the data economy. further, we need congress to play a critical role in robust oversight, and it is critical we conduct a searching examination of the enforcement efforts and work of the fbi and justice department. under the trump administration, the fbi created the so-called black identity extremist designation, which criminalized black activists and groups working and seeking to hold police accountable for unconstitutional policing practices. the fbi's domestic terrorism to use units decision the color of someone's skin as a means of identifying potential threats harkens back to the worst of times for the bureau.
, thee name suggests unifying feature of this manufactured black identity extremist threat appears to be the color of a person's skin. while organizations like ours have used the freedom of information act to try and shine a light on what is happening in the fbi, these efforts have not borne fruit, making oversight by congress all the more critical. at such a critical moment when the fbi should frankly be redoubling its efforts to combat racial violence inspired and carried out by white supremacists, our concern frankly is the bureau may end up targeting those who are seeking to defend and protect the rights of racial minorities. to of this is a throwback the 1960's, when the fbi under j edgar hoover demonized civil rights leaders daring to fight for equal justice in our country, including going after the reverend dr. martin luther
king jr. as we face the challenges of increased hate crimes, we also call on members of congress to use existing laws to investigate and prosecute acts of hateful violence to the full extent of the law. createoppose efforts to new legislation that might risk further criminalization of communities of color. we need oversight hearings focused on the civil rights division to understand whether enforcement activity has gone up, and increased on pace with the increase in hate activity across the country. the civil rights division chief should be called to testify and address this most important question. understandrsight to what action, if any, this justice department is taking to improve data collection among our nation's law enforcement agencies.
made to addve been a separate charge of domestic terrorism to the u.s. code. a means forprovides investigating and prosecuting acts of violence, and so we have some concerns about adding domestic terrorism to the u.s. code. our concern is a separate charge of domestic terrorism might be used to encourage law enforcement authorities to target the groups who stand up for the rights of black and brown people in our country. the fbi's invention of the black identity extremist category heightens these most basic concerns. these are dark and turbulent times across our country, but we are confident that in partnership with groups and communities of faith, and with the corporate's hand of government, we can stand up and push back against the crisis of hate we are up against in the nation today. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. miller.. kassie >> thank you so much to everyone of the lawyers committee for helping to convene this panel today. i am a senior research analyst at the southern poverty law center. we are a civil rights advocacy organization that monitors and counters hate and extremism. from our standpoint, what we are seeing is white supremacy is surging in the united states. in 2018, the southern poverty law center counted a record 1020 active hate groups and the united states these are groups that attack or malign entire groups of people, typically based on immutable characteristics. this represents a 7% increase
from 2017. what is most remarkable about this is the search we saw in urge in whitese nationalists groups. in 2017, we had 100, and by 2018 we had 148. this is an alarming increase that we are seeing in hate and extremism and the trumpcare appeared the past four years, he groups have risen 30%. several factors account for this dramatic rise in hate and the violence that often accompanies it. the u.s. is moving toward a future, itnority will happen by the 20 40's. there is a lot of anger that is driving nativism and white nationalists inking. that process is being helped immeasurably by the toxic
rhetoric coming from public power. throughout his campaign and presidency, president trump has pushed noxious anti-immigrant and anti-muslim rhetoric, labeled central american caravans and invasion, he called some of the marchers in charlottesville very fine people. he tweeted support for white farmers in south africa who white nationalists falsely claim are being murdered by black people. that is a nod to the white genocide myth that motivates the white nationalists movement. roof'salso dylan excuse for killing people in a church. check companies did not take this threat seriously. even now, we generally wait until there is a hate inspired
at the violence to take meaningful actions. facebook only recognized that white nationalism and white supremacy are part of the same toxic political rhetoric, but still it is breathtakingly easy to find white nationalists content on its platform. twitter has made no attempt to remove it from their platform. well-known white nationalists leaders, people like david duke, richard spencer, matthew heimbach, they are also on twitter. youtube, which has an algorithm that pushes increasingly extreme content on its users, continues to be one of the greatest forces on the internet. without any meaningful content moderation, we can only expect to see more young white men being radicalized into the world of extremism. we know that online radicalization can lead to deadly consequences. we counted 81 people who were killed at the hands of of people
influenced by the racist alt-right since 2014, and every one of those men responsible was radicalized online to some extent. and that is why they -- we have partnered with several other organizations including the lawyers committee to advance defense policies that tech companies can adopt to help stem the growth of hate online. it is something we need to tackle with urgency because 2018 was the deadliest year yet for the alt-right. it started with nikolas cruz killing 17 students at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland florida. ,and it ended with robert bowers killing people at the tree of life synagogue. in the same week bowers carried out his attack, a man in kentucky murdered black two people and another was arrested for sending pipe bombs to people against president trump. there is a self-described white nationalists in the coast guard.
on a scaleto murder rarely seen in this country. organization in australia and it is one that warns of an impending replacement of whites with nonwhites, and that is a title that the killer used in his manifesto and it is also a phrase we see used repeatedly by white nationalists in the united states. white nationalism is clearly a threat around the world and we should be viewing it as a global terrorism threat. but we don't know much about how government is addressing it. we face a dearth of information related to how the government allocates resources toward
addressing white nationalism and this hampers our ability to do anything about it. they have released -- not released a report in a decade. we don't know how many cases the fbi has investigated and don't know how many agents focus on far right extremism. until we know what is being done to address the threats, it is impossible for us to know what we can do moving forward. there are other causes of concern that we have related to federal law enforcement including a misguided report warning of violence from a nonexistent black ideals he -- ideology in a pattern of doing anti-fascist protesters as problematic as the deadly white supremacist movement. we also face a similar black hole when it comes to hate crime reporting. because reporting procedures are voluntary, they lack uniformity the fbi hate crime statistics underrepresented the
problem. in this information desert, what we do know is the department of homeland security disbanded a group of intelligence analysts tasked with tracking white ring -- white extremism. it is leading to people being murdered in their houses of worship. is choosingtration to divert from programs and savennel that might help lives. it is for this reason that the southern poverty law center supports the no hate act. we also support anti-lynching legislation passed in the senate last year. we would like to see an end to policies like the muslim ban and family separation that were birthed in anti-immigrant groups that this administration uses to staff itself. we know that white nationalism is on the rise in this country and across the globe and is not
just a small number of people as president trump suggested. unless we acknowledge this reality, we can only accept white hate groups to rise and more. [applause] >> thank you, kathy. up next we have alfred wesley from the heather heyer foundation. alfred: thank you for being able to have this opportunity to speak with you today. i guess you could say i got hurled into this position. i am the husband of one of the most beautiful women that i know in the world three magnificent , kids. a -- omega psit
chi fraternity. i work at a law firm and when i make the statement that the executive director, you get a different look when you say charlottesville, virginia. different look when you say charlottesville, virginia is forever impacted as to what is taking place. white nationalists, neo-nazis, kkk numbers all game and diverged on charlottesville. they say they were there to protest the removal of these confederate monuments. they were there to conserve their history. they were there actually to promote fear, to basically to divide and push back minorities and jews and muslims. they were there to hurt people. when i'm out there meeting
people, i actually cringe a lot at times because when people hear that i'm from charlottesville, you can see their body language just change. you can see their facial expressions. they look at me as if they want to say they are sorry. as if they are bothered from the fact that i am there from charlottesville. charlottesville, when i came there 19 years ago was a beautiful place that i enjoyed meeting there, and i still enjoy being there in charlottesville. my wife and i were talking the other night,
and she reminded me of a tragic incident that took place in 1998. three white supremacists in texas chained and dragged james byrd junior for miles. they dragged him on the ground through dirt and gravel. , the horrific part about it was the fact that he lived through most of this dragging and died when his body hit a culvert.
when his body hit the colbert, that is when he died. the impact that it had on jasper is 20 years later and if you go look up jasper or check about the policy and things that have gone there, businesses have shied away to go to jasper because of that incident. white supremacy, white nationalists basically almost shut this down down because of this one incident. this town didn't acknowledge the part -- the part that is tragic about this is that the town did acknowledgment happened to this man. they didn't
name a street after him. they didn't try to basically solve the problem that took place in jasper. they just tried to sweep it under the rug and act like it didn't happen. because of that, we strongly believe for 20 years, this town has been suffering. the white nationalism, these acts, these hate crimes are just -- are not just these crimes
that happen to individuals. it happens to entire towns and cities. that is what we are fighting with charlottesville. i used to say i am charlottesville, the first thing people thought about is that is , where uva is. that is where thomas jefferson is. that is the first thing i -- they thought about. now, i'm hoping they will start thinking about that is where the national basketball championship team is from. but the unfortunate part is, i say charlottesville, they still cringe. they look at me as if they are sorry that i'm there, especially when they look at me and say, you are a black man that lives in charlottesville. charlottesville is not like that. these people came from different states, different areas. the majority of them, none of them were there from charlottesville. i will admit to you all of you, , before august 12, i was somewhat blind to some of the things that were happening around me.
a close friend and my employee, heather, quite often would sit at her desk sometimes and cry, and be upset as i walked out of the office to go shake a client's hand, they may hold their hand back and were surprised when they would meet mr. alfred wilson to help them with financial problems, this black guy comes from around the corner and they get surprised by a. heather would get bothered by the idea. she would frequently point it out to me and i would ask her why she would get so upset about it? she would point out to me, it is a problem that they don't acknowledge you are an educated man that is there solving their problems, your there fixing their problems. they are still trying to suppress you. the incident in charlottesville stirred up a lot of feelings, a lot of things that black and
brown people have known have been going on for years. a lot of people don't recognize or realize the things i've experienced all my life when i walk into a store and have someone follow me around. of interesting that, you know, to me it is no big deal, but to others, it is something brand new to them. it is down to the forefront, they are seeing it. one of the things my close friend susan has brought to my attention and hopefully to others' attention is, it is a kind of a shame that it took an innocent white woman to die for people to start having this difficult conversation about what is going on. we have to have these difficult conversations to get these changes to take place. it has been about 18 months since heather passed.
i hate saying it -- she was murdered. 18 months since she was murdered. since that took place, it stirred up a lot of feelings in society. a lot of people are thinking, a lot of people are talking about things that are happening and they are coming to the true realization of what has been happening in our community. the same politicians though are quickly out here denouncing this violence and murder that happened in charlottesville, and they are basically acting and talking about hate and racism, and talking about passing public policies, but denouncing these acts of racism is a good form of public relations. it does not mean crap, to be honest until we do something and , try to dismantle racism and face the true challenges.
the true challenge is in front of our leaders. if you need help breaking down the mantle of racism. i have seen little things happening in my local areas in that our school systems have basically started to ban the wearing confederate flags, confederate memorabilia or paraphernalia. they are doing their own little part in the local area to try to ban, to help our kids unite and understand there is a problem. we need to get congress to step up and to make such bans. i love the guy. i don't know if you guys watch trevor noah, but i love watching him. trevor noah brought up an southnt that happened in africa. he was talking about how in south africa a man was arrested and convicted for 12 years for using the n-word. they were that strong about
racism. i met a gentleman in charlottesville at one of the monuments. he was from germany. he said he was confused. didn't understand how a city or a country could have monuments of a person who lost the battle. why do we have monuments of people who lost this battle? he said, in germany they don't have statues up of hitler and mussolini, those guys that lost the battle, so why do we have it up there? i had to sit and explain to him the thinking behind it, that whoever put these statues up, their thought was that putting these statues up in these predominately black neighborhoods to try to suppress minorities, to try to make them remember to put them down, to , try to hold them back. he told me that should be illegal.
this guy is visiting our country and said it should be illegal. i don't know how come it is making it that hard for our own congressional leaders to understand that we need to do something about this now. it is not something they should think about doing, something that can help them get a vote by talking about it. we need to do something about it now. yes we are starting at the , grassroots level in the schools, getting them to ban the wearing of confederate flags and wearing of confederate memorabilia, but we need to actually show how serious we are about this. think to myself that what happened to heather, is not -- it is not even reported in the federal hate crimes databook. it is not reported as a hate crime. we are still fighting. susan had to sit there and -- hold and hug susan as they get
ready to start this federal trial to hopefully prosecute this guy for a federal hate crime. we are hoping that they do that. yes, he pled guilty to get out of the death penalty, but they still haven't acknowledged it as a hate crime. this young lady lost her life. and she lost her life really for me. she didn't think that was one of the things she was standing up for. standing up to make sure that i got equal treatment and was looked at equally as she did. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, alfred. up next we have minor barry with the arab-american institute. maya: good afternoon. thank you, nokia, and thank you,
kristin, for your incredible testimony during that hearing. my name is maya very, i am the director of the arab-american institute which was established for the civic engagement and political empowerment of three point evan million arabs in this country. 3.7 million arabs in this country. our system works our democracy , works when people are able to engage with the political process. regrettably at that time, our participation in the process was not particularly welcome. we organized, banded together and put forward efforts to participate fully in the process. in having to do that, we faced issues of discrimination and harassment. further than that, it was also a community under threat at the time. all of those things, whether it is a lack of safety, whether it is harassment or discrimination, are all
preventative problems that don't allow one to fully participate in our democratic process. personal safety is a point, but i will keep bringing it back to the issue of being able to fully engage as citizens in our process. the climate of violence targeting arab-americans during that time was so severe that then fbi director william webster referred to, i think i can say arab americans are those supporting arab points of view have come within the zone of danger. this was the statement made by then fbi director william webster on december 11, 1985. , a months after alex oda civil rights activist was , murdered at his office in california. this is history combined with the recent surge of hate crime against our own community and others informs our approach to hate crime convention. our work on hate crimes began
primarily in late 2014 when we saw an uptick of violence targeting american muslims and arab americans. the anecdotal information was confirmed when in 2015 and 2016 federal data collected under the hate crimes statistics act, a federal program that collects data on crimes submitted through law enforcement agencies across the country, showed a significant increase of hate crime incidents against our communities. according to federal data, reported anti-muslim incidents increased almost 20% in 2016, after a severe 67% surge in 2015. as for anti-arab hate crime, 2015 was the first year for which those incidents were published in federal statistics. according to federal data reported anti-arab hate crime fromidents increased 37% 2015 to despite this increase, 2016. the most high-profile anti-arab
hate crime in 2016, the killing of a man in tulsa, oklahoma, was not reflected in the federal data. the police department failed to report the incident as a hate crime through the program. while participation in the system is voluntary, all law enforcement agencies in oklahoma are required under state law to report hate crime to the state bureau of investigations, which is the entity responsible for submitting data to the federal government. the inexcusable omission of this murder from official hate crime statistics informed our approach to assessing 2017 hate crime data and crafting recommendations for improved hate crime prevention in american communities. understanding there were many factors contributing to underreporting, we decided to conduct a comprehensive examination and review of laws and policies designed to address, prevent and respond to hate crime in every state and the district of columbia.
we also analyzed hate crimes submitted from the law enforcement agencies and reported in federal statistics from state numbers. our objective was to assess the relationship between hate crime data from law-enforcement agencies on the one hand and on the other hand the nature of hate crimeies' prevention. given our concerns about underreporting, which stemmed from the omission of this murder but numerous additional data points as well, we have been hate crimeo statistics. with this data, we discovered through a public -- public records request that no incident responding to the violet unite the right rally in charlottesville, not even the killing of heather, and the wounding of many others when a driver plowed into a crowd, were reflected in the official data. we were heartbroken to learn that as was the case in
oklahoma, heather would likely not be recorded in federal hate crime statistics. unfortunately, our queries were inconclusive and although we about thise fbi months ahead of the publication, what happened in charlottesville was not reflected in the federal hate crime statistics. other glaring omissions occurred in 2017 as well including the killing of an indian immigrant who was shot to death because of his perceived national origin at a bar in kansas, and the stabbing of two men on a train in portland, oregon. aside from these omissions and general underreporting, we are nevertheless alarmed that the significant increase of reporting in hate crime statistics for 2017. according to the federal data, reporting -- reported anti-arab hate crime incidents increased 100% in 2017, while anti-muslim hate crime remained well above its historical average. beyond american muslims the , increased threat of hate crime
was reflected almost across the board. of the 34 reported categories, bias motivated categories that we tracked an increase was , recorded in all but five in 2017. anti-black hate crime accounted for almost half of all crimes motivated by race or ethnicity, which increased 18%, while reported hate crime incidents targeting native americans americans, hispanics and latinos and multiple racial groups all increased over 20%. as for crimes motivated by religion, which increased 23% in 2017, anti-jewish hate crime surged 37% while anti-seikh hate crime increased significantly as well. hate crimes related to disability and gender increased in 2017. furthermore although a slight decrease in hate crimes based on gender identity was reported, they are the most likely to go unreported. it is undoubtably -- based on
what my colleagues reported and what you know, there is a resurgence in hate crimes. this coincides with the resurgence of hate group activity that we heard from. sclc whicho the monitors activities the number , of hate groups increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, with most groups following some form of white supremacist ideology. not every hate crime reflected in the statistics can be attributed to white supremacist motivation, but both the increase of hate crimes reported through government and nongovernmental collection speaks to a widely held concern. there is a threat, it is growing, and it must be addressed. the increase in hate crime being undeniable, but what is the real scale of this increase? that requires another question, which is what is the real scale of the underreporting problem? the department of justice provides through the fbi uniform
reporting data and for 2017 that , number was 7175. hate crime incidents. however the department of justice statistics, through its national crime victimization survey, estimates that number to be closer to 250,000. consider that discrepancy. we are talking about some of the most high-profile cases in media reports not appearing in the official data. the problem is an increase in hate and a problem with accurate data collection and reporting. those two together have gone us -- gotten us to where we are today. when it comes to this threat and concern about underreporting, what can we do? on the local level as members of communities and local advocates we should demand greater , accountability of law enforcement, to hate crime prevention, which includes adopting policies and identifying investigating and , reporting hate crime, in addition to developing a standard system of electing and reporting hate crime.
these policies should be consistent with state law and regulations by incorporating federal hate crime collection guidelines for uniform reporting. law enforcement should create opportunities for stakeholder participation when possible. that is an incredibly important piece of this because we know there is is a barrier to reporting hate crime because of lack of confidence that there is between local citizens and law enforcement. on the state level, state legislators should work to enact inclusive statutes, offering protections for victims of hate crimes motivated by race, sexual orientation gender, disability, , and gender identity. they should also pass laws requiring all law enforcement agencies to report hate crime through this system and all law enforcement officers to receive hate crime training. the training piece is incredibly important. we cannot advance this effectively on our own without improvements in training. on the federal level, i'm happy to be here in congress having this conversation because it is where it needs to start.
we are working on improved efforts in congress that would promote improved data collection under the hate crimes statistics act and greater accountability under law enforcement. in particular the justice department should study the relationship between hate crime reporting, legal frameworks to address prevent and respond to , hate crimes in those agencie'' respective states, and the policies that agencies have implemented relating to hate crime reporting. to facilitate this research, congress could also require states and the units of local government requiring grants to collect this information from certain agencies that are recipients of the grants. this approach would assist the federal government in collecting hate crime data. moreover, in the provision of a public report, the federal government would furnish state legislatures and relevant to state-level reform. a public report would promote civilian oversight of law enforcement and provide americans with a better understanding of how state and local agencies are working to
address hate crime in their communities. in this respect, these federal efforts would have significant implications in the state and local level. i opened my comments by noting the comments of then fbi director webster in 1985. i will close by noting that words matter. and in addition to needing to address policy changes that must happen, i would echo my colleagues, who noted that leadership especially among policymakers, whether here in congress or on the executive level must understand the crisis our country is in with regards to hate crime and must adopt a different voice. [applause] >> thank you, maya. we'll open it up to question and answer. please write your questions on a note card, and if you can hold them up, we will have a team member collect them. i want to start. several folks talked about hate crime data.
i want to start by asking the panel about the underreporting of hate crime data. we know that hate crime data is not mandatory for state and law-enforcement agencies to report up to the fbi. i want to talk about the 54% of hate crimes they go unreported from the victims in the first place. this is to all of our panelists -- can you discuss reasons why individuals are hesitant to report hate crime's to law-enforcement? >> this is an incredibly important question. we talked about the fbi data, which has shown a spike in hate crimes, but it is sobering to remember that there are many victims and survivors who don't pick up the phone and call 911 because of mistrust. a lack of confidence that law enforcement will take these issues seriously.
we have forged a partnership with the international association of chiefs of police, recognizing that if we are going to confront this crisis, we need law-enforcement to come to the table. we need them to focus on the best practices that can guide their efforts to investigate hate crimes when they happen and connect communities to resources that they need. most importantly, how can they foster and cultivate trust with communities that are so often targeted by hate? just about a week ago, we issued a report with the international association of chiefs of police outlining ways for them to strengthen their response to hate crime by increasing community law enforcement collaboration to address hate, enhancing training and education about hate crimes for not just law enforcement, but also prosecutors. strengthening data collection,
reporting and analysis, improving hate incident and crime management policies and responses, and also focusing on how they work with and interact with prosecutors who play an important role in this crisis. i think that it is critical that the justice department also play an important role here. the justice department has unique tools in its arsenal, tremendous expertise, and a real ability to partner with, work with local law enforcement agencies to help them confront hate. there was a prosecutors office that we connected with recently that confessed to us, we don't have a lot of expertise in this horrendous hate incident happening here in our backyard. we welcome any help you can provide. i think that is sad.
it is a sad state of affairs that we are up against when, if a church is burning, people are dying, the very people on the ground looking to these leaders to investigate and prosecute and hold perpetrators accountable are without expertise. tremendously unfortunate when we don't have a justice department that is willing to stand up and fill in the gaps and help come to the aid of local law enforcement. through this partnership, we are trying to fill that void, but this is an important part of the battle. >> the only thing i would add is that they report that kristen mentioned is incredibly valuable, because it is rooted in an understanding of how sometimes those relationships between communities and law
enforcement are strained. the recommendations in that report are very important to that conversation, in terms of understanding that. the other part that goes back to training -- there is the training of understanding how to file this information so that it enters our system accurately. there is also the training piece of cultural competence and understanding that these are targeted communities, so if a law enforcement official is showing up to potential the received this report, the way that that interaction takes place and ripples throughout the community could become a barrier to reporting. that is a very important piece of it. >> we got a bunch of questions. i want to ask the panel quickly about -- we received a few questions about first amendment right to free speech.
this came up a lot in the april 9 hearing as well. the question is, how do you balance free speech protection? with hate crime prosecution -- free speech protection with hate crime prosecution? >> the first amendment is an important and core feature of our constitution, in important right in our democracy. it is important that when we talk about hate crimes, we are not talking about protected speech. we are talking about people who are inciting violence, who are targeting victims, targeting communities. who are recruiting followers to go out and unleash hate in communities. that is the activity that we are talking about when we are talking about the hate crime crisis that we are up against. this issue comes up a lot when we talk about online platforms, like facebook and twitter and youtube. facebook, for some time,
maintained a policy where they deemed white supremacist content to be prohibited and banned on their platform. but, they came up with a policy that carved out an exception for white nationalists and white separatists. we pushed and pushed facebook to recognize that this was a difference without a distinction at the end of the day. they ultimately abandoned that policy. the reality is that there are dangerous, violent white supremacist organizations out there who are going out there and using their words to go out and harm communities, to harm people, and to incite violence. that is the problem that we are focused on tackling, and none of this is speech protected under the first amendment. >> i can speak about the tech perspective a little bit. we want to maintain the first amendment. we don't want government
censorship. but with tech, it can be tricky, because there is not clear legislative ways to do this. in to give you the lay of the land, there is something called the communications decency act. tech companies are not held responsible for the content on their site. in exchange for that, we expect that companies will have some moral obligation to remove hate from their platform, to try and stop this process of far right radicalization. what we found is that they have not been good stewards. it is remarkable how easy it is to find these things online. i spend a lot of time as a research analyst on alt-right internet spaces, and i can tell you, it is everywhere. there is a misconception that a lot of this content is hard to find, that it is on the dark web, but it is remarkably easy purposefully, as they want to recruit people.
i can give you examples of facebook. they banned the proud voice last year for violence. -- proud of boys -- proud boys last year for violence. in the last couple months, we've seen them come back on facebook. just last week, they were sharing content from a woman who espouses white supremacist use was bland -- who was banned last week. so we have a band group sharing content from a person who was banned. what we want is tech companies to be held accountable. what we can do is allow congress to hold hearings so they can ask tech companies but they are doing in terms of search algorithms that is turning people away from heat content and removing it. how much money hatreds are getting from their platform things like that, so that we know the extent of the problem and how kate is functioning online. then we can look towards legislative solutions.
but it is really about holding these companies accountable. >> kathy, quick follow up question. one of the questions we received was, if online platforms push white supremacist off the website, and we run the risk of them organizing on the dark? -- dark web? >> when you pushed these groups off of these platforms, we do know that this is an effective eight halt the spread of -- of hate. banned toeddit particularly a greatness and hateful supplements, and what we found is that those people mostly remove themselves from the platform and the hate language decreased. so we know that was effective. , sometimes,now that this pushes groups on to other platforms. this is aat
constantly evolving problem and we have to be constantly evolving to address it. there is no silver bullet, no way to fix all of it. but if they are on platforms that are less accessible to people, it is much harder for them to recruit, harder for people to come into contact with their materials, and we think that is a good thing. i just want to bring up storm front very briefly. this is one of the dangers and longest running sites online, about 25 years old, hundreds of thousands of registered users and millions who frequent the site from around the globe. truly a place for people go to incite racial violence and other forms of activity. we decided to take action on the heels of charlottesville. it went after a network solution , which essentially was the host for that site. you all have a terms of service
agreement that consumers cannot buy and use your services to promote and incite violence. and here are a dozen murders, over a dozen, that have been traced to activity that originated on your site. after that pressure and advocacy , they turned off the lights and pulled it off-line. they went dark for about six months. they are now back up through a canadian platform that has a much broader view of speech. but i deemed that a victory in this fight, because for several weeks, at a moment where many of --m felt incredibly bold and boldened, they did not have a place to go to organize and rally. because we are without federal law enforcement that is stepping up in an aggressive way to has put civil it
rights organizations in a position of having to be really creative in finding ways to push back. when we talk about what congress can do, it is important we underscore the need for us to really think creatively about how we can take the fuel of some of the ugly and dangerous white supremacist movements that are underway right now. i want to shift the conversation to wear aprons happen here in the federal data that was discussed, it also includes the location where the hate crime occurred. plurality of hate crimes happened in housing, the second category is public streets, sidewalks. one category that has increased his hate crimes in school. i may spoke about this at the aboutg, i may spoke things schools in your area is doing to fight racism. our questions is what
more can schools due to fight hate and hate crimes? doone of the things they can is basically educating the kids what a hate crime is. a lot of the time, you have kids who do not understand that wearing a confederate flag t-shirt is actually a form of hate and is putting down the individuals around. some of them will try say they are wearing it because the grandfather says hey, you're upholding our heritage. but they need to understand what it is that they are imposing on other children. the teachers, which in our area, a lot of the teachers in the administration have pushed back. we will ban any form of this type of paraphernalia being warned by our students -- worn by our
students. there used to have a lee jackson day in florida, and they banned that day from the school system. unfortunately, because some schools are pretty liberal about allowing students to start their own clubs within the school, a group of students started up their own historic club, is what they wanted to call it. we came to find out after more research, it happened to be one of their grandparents help them come up with this way to get the club into the school system, by calling a historical club, so they could all where these confederate shirts, but again, the school system stepped in and said, this is banned. it can be an historical club, but you can't wear this paraphernalia. >> our public schools have an obligation and a duty to ensure the safety of all students.
i think every school in our country right now on its website should have clear information about what their policies are in this regard. as you know, what is bullying, and what is the school's policy on bullying. how can students or parents file reports about bullying? what is the process? and timeline for investigating those complaints this is a moment that requires schools to step up and help set the tone. there is a school right now in wyoming, which is not doing that. they recently put in place a policy banning students from wearing lgbt t-shirts, from wearing pride paraphernalia, from wearing rainbows. that is not leadership. schools have an important role to play right now, in a time where we are seeing an uptick in hate incidents in schools at a 25% level.
i think that, as we talk about the crisis, it is important that we talk about the critical role that public schools have to play in ensuring that they are educating their students, taking students seriously and investigating these incidents when they come up and not ignoring them and allowing them to fester. >> this is something of my colleagues at the southern poverty law center work on specifically. we have something called teaching tolerance, which is a -- is aimed providing resources for educators so that students can learn to fight prejudice in their communities. it is something we have been looking out for a long time, in the wake of the 2016 election. we did a report called 10 days after, about the effect of the election and the hate and bias that we saw. a growing number of things were elevated to the status of hate crimes. in those 10 days, we recorded
nearly 900 incidents, and most of them were in public laces, but the second most frequent place a happened was k-12 schools. we released a report copy trump -- a report called the trump affect from that department, that looked at the dramatic change that happened in classrooms and schools in the wake of the election. teachers saying that the tone had changed, a lot of students were living in fear, things we saw were students chanting build the wall in the cafeteria or telling their classmates they would get deported. kids really living in fear, this having an impact on their lives. we know that this is something that is affecting children, and so we have resources that we have available through teaching tolerance. >> the only thing i would add is that it was under the obama administration when they created the bullying.gov website because of the epidemic of a bullying
that we saw in the school systems. i think that the conversation is important to have in terms of, that is a significant problem. when we cross over and are seeing actual hate crimes take place, in my own school district, my kids middle school, we had a swastika painted in their bathroom. that is beyond bullying, which is already problematic, and shifting into things that we have civil rights laws to protect us from. part of what has to happen is understanding what is happening on college campuses, at high schools and middle schools is a reflection of what is happening in broader society and a robust response needs to take place. one of those responses could be a hate crime.gov website, which has not been created yet. a version was launched recently, but it's content is not as robust as it needs to be. >> we received several questions about recent news articles about law enforcement officers being found to be associated with
white supremacist movements. can the panel discuss what role on risk and potentially play in -- what role congress could potentially play the oversight and discuss the trend in general? >> i can tell you that this is a problem we have seen historically in the white nationalist movement. it has been a systemic issue in law enforcement for a long time. hate groups have long targeted police officers, people in the military, because they have certain skills and training and access to weapons that are important in these movements. very sought-after. it is something we have seen in the past and something we see now. there was a recent story about two police officers in virginia being terminated because of their membership in hate groups. this is something that the fbi noted in a report in 2006, but since then, we haven't seen much if anything about it.
-- much of anything about it. one suggestion or one solution is to have more training. police officers have very little training when it comes to understanding white nationalist movements. is very violent white supremacist movements. there was a recent article in the new york times magazine that pointed out how underprepared law enforcement agencies have been in the wake of events like charlottesville. it is something we need to be adopting as part of training. if we can better understand it, we can weed out this systemic problem in law enforcement. >> we also have title vi, federally funded agencies, recipients of federal funds like police departments and sheriff's offices have to meet certain requirements in order to receive those funds and are obligated to not discriminate in how they use those funds.
if is justice department were really serious about using every tool in its arsenal to confront hate, we would see them strip away federal funding from those agencies that have tolerated, turned a blind eye, or failed to smoke at -- out white nationalists and white supremacist in their ranks. i would encourage congress to the extent that they bring the justice department in for an oversight hearing to talk and explore how they are using or are not using title vi to encourage reform among those federal funded law enforcement agencies across the country. >> along the lines of law enforcement training, one of the things that we have seen, are some problematic trainers go to train law enforcement on islam and things like that. can you speak a little bit to?
-- a little bit to the effect that can have on communities? >> it is a pretty significant problem. it required a massive undertaking under the obama administration, which went through and examined the training materials. they vetted and extensive amount of those and removed hundreds of pages of that material. at the time, we were pleased with those of elements, but also -- those developments also had a ,ery real concern of improving or fixing, what was already in the field. but how does one go into those municipalities and police departments and pull the materials. that is a different problem. today, some of the trainers that we had concerns about and the individuals they are affiliated with our serving in the administration. the idea that we have pivoted from problems with individuals
who have very real anti-muslim bigotry as part of their curriculum, regrettably now in positions of power. i think it is a very real and serious problems. it goes to undermine the way that law enforcement interacts with its local communities and has a real detriment in the long term. it was a problem then. it is a significantly more serious problem now. >> alfred, we have several questions for you. more recently, there has been this trend happening on social media, where if someone comes forward to speak out against hate or if they are targeted for a hate crime and speak out against it, they may be trolled online or harassed for that by white supremacists. is that something you have seen or? been aware of in your experience in charlottesville >> unfortunately, yes. i've seen and experienced it in our own home.
-- our own office. a lot of people may not be aware that during that march, heather was not alone. it was actually something our office have gotten together, about all of us going down as an office to participate. i made a decision as a father to not take my wife and children down there, because i said i can't put my hands on all of them at the same time if something happens. i would see online that people had gone online and were putting the names of coworkers working there, trying to troll them and put their names out there to say they are on this list of people that they were planning on attacking. unfortunately, several of my staff members are no longer with us because they felt their safety was an issue, because they knew that heather worked at
our law group, so they do not want to be associated. i understood. it is an unfortunate thing we have to deal with as an office. the thing that we have to understand is that white nationalists in these movements are affecting our society so strongly. i look at my own office. our turnover for employees has been unbelievable. prior to that time, each employee had been at the office anywhere from three to five years. had been pretty steady. once this happened, i basically went through employees probably every six months. partly because of that. you still have people coming to the office saying, i remember or you are that office.
>> a question for the entire panel. a lot of hate crimes we care about involve guns. pittsburgh, charleston, what role can gun policy play in addressing the increase in hate crimes? >> it is not much of an answer, frankly. i would only note that i think that access to weapons, particularly for those with prior convictions, the use of illegal weapons, those are all problems that we absolutely must and can do more about that in terms of congressional oversight. i know there is a separate conversation that can happen over the issue of handgun control, and it is probably best for us to try to keep those separate. there certainly is a need to address the issue of illegal handgun use and its prevalence in terms of those with prior convictions.
>> we have about 15 minutes left. i would like to come back to you, alfred, so we can focus on your remarks and the impact that hate has on communities, then we will circle back to specific policy recommendations. one of the questions -- there are two -- will there be events or outreach campaigns around the charlottesville anniversary that you know of? >> there are several events taking place around the charlottesville anniversary, but i know for our foundation itself, we are having an event june 13 where we are having local musicians come there and basically perform music and just try to unite the community. that way, we can basically keep a good vibe going on.
we can't allow -- our vision as a foundation is we can't allow individuals to think that they are going to put us down. we still have to let them know and understand that we are still here, our foundation is there to help educate and inspire future activists. our foundation is there, doing our best to try to uplift the community as well. yes, there are plans for different activities. >> where can we go to learn more about this? >> visit our foundation website, the heather heyer foundation. the good thing about our foundation as well is that we are giving out scholarships to help educate our activists. last year, we give out three scholarships to local high school students. this year, we doubled it and gave out six scholarships, get
-- gave out one scholarship to a student in new york, and give a scholarship to a graduate student in college in florida. we are trying to move out nationally as well. one of our goals -- my personal goal is to be able to, within five years, to pay the full tuition of a student going to school who is a social activist and is trying their best to make a change in the community. >> wonderful. there is one more question, specifically for you, alfred. how can we best honor heather heyer's memory? >> one of her favorite things she used to say was have difficult conversations. it is a hard thing to do sometimes, to have this difficult conversations. one of the most recent difficult conversations that i had was this past friday. i do know if any of you heard me
mention that heather one-time came into the office, and she had basically broken up with her boyfriend, because her boyfriend , at the time, had found out she worked for a black man. he gave her a hard time about the fact that she worked for a black man, how could you do that? she pointed out to him that this guy is college educated and i have a degree and he gave me a chance. i am a bartender and he gave me me a chance. what do you mean? he looked at me as just who i am. that same boyfriend actually came to my office this past friday. he came there. i didn't know who he was, because i never met him. he came there for legal advice, and before we spoke, he asked to speak to me specifically. it was kind of strange to want to ask for me specifically, but as we started talking, he told me who he was. he did admit to me how he felt
about blacks, he explained to me that his grandfather was a white supremacist and that it was but he said, after what happened to the woman that he loved, he said he realized that he had to make a change, so he immersed himself into the minority community to understand what it was that this woman he loved loved so much about different ethnic groups. as he realized it, and as he immersed himself and learned more, he says he realized we ere a lot alike. this black guy drives a truck the same as i drive a truck. he said it is no different. he has the same struggle that i have. he is feeling the same problems and pain that i am feeling. he said the next step was he started going to church more and changed his life over to
god. he apologized to me. we had a difficult conversation there in the office. he didn't have to have that conversation with me. he could have -- as soon as he told me who he was, i could have got up and said, i don't know what is going on. this guy is six foot 8, 380 pounds and i am in this office by myself with him and i'm thinking, ok, what is his end game? once we had that difficult conversation, we realized that we can make a difference. he asked what he can do to make sure other people open their minds. he said he lost a lot of family members and a lot of people he thought were his friends because he has now turned this new leaf over. we all have to have difficult conversations. one of the things you said so graciously, is that as a white female, she feels like it is her
job to go out and tell otherwise females and white males, we've got to understand white privilege. we have got to understand that we get special treatment that unfortunately a college educated black man may not get, even though he has more education, more money, more going for him on paper than i do, and so you take the paper away and look at his skin, and now he doesn't have the same opportunity. those difficult conversations are the best way you can honor heather's legacy. go out there and have it. my wife reminds me quite often that if you see something wrong out there, speak up about it. a lot of times, we don't speak up. you see someone getting treated unfairly and shake your head and walk away. shaking your head doesn't do a thing for that situation. you have to speak up and say something. be polite about it, but speak up.
>> as we are concluding our conversation, i want to circle back to our specific recommendations for members. combining two questions, it may have to be a rapidfire round. what can congress do right now to stop a crime, and can each speaker go through their concrete recommendations to members of congress to address this crisis? > i am happy to start by pointing out we're all stakeholders in this process. it is important that we do focus on the congressional peace, but we've all got a role to play. in terms of congress, not necessarily a difficult conversation, but i difficult observation, this is not a good time in our country. combating hate crime ought to be at least on the most basic level, the low hanging fruit. congress can, and after making the discovery about the omission
of heather's murder from the hate crime data, we published a piece in the washington post where he talked about that piece missing as well as others missing from the hate crime data. there were killed one year of hard to the day. but here in the house and senate, we propose legislation that focuses exclusively on the issue of better data collection and reporting. it is our desire to have it named after jabara and heather heyer. we hope offices look at this seriously and the key element has to be that has to be a bipartisan approach. this is something that can have both hardee's, both chambers come together to focus exclusively on the issue of reporting. >> i actually have nothing to add to what she was saying, because we have to get congress -- they have to vote on the bear
points of acknowledging these hate crimes. that has to get through. >> i want to emphasize just how large the white nationalist movement is. i think it is something that a lot of us were not familiar with until charlottesville. we were all forced to confront it. there have been social scientists using pull data that have found that there are some 11 million people in america who are synthetic to the alt-right. this is a huge number of people and we know that it is growing. as i mentioned, we saw a nearly 50% increase in white nationalist groups. it is becoming more violent. violence begets violence. we can expect more acts like this. the movement has told us that they expect more violence. we need to turn the government's attention to domestic terrorism and dedicate personnel to countering white supremacist
violence. we need to start divesting resources from that and turn around. we also, as everyone has noted, need to collect and report hate crime data. only if we do that can we extend -- can we understand the extent of the problem and move toward solutions. also, we need to hold tech companies accountable. this is the way that the overwhelming majority of people in the movement become radicalized. dylan roof is the most obvious example. he simply googled black on white crime and it brought into to the council concerned citizens website, which led him to believe that there was white genocide being committed, that there was a rampant black on white crime problem that went unreported. none of these things are true, but did let him to kill nine people in a church. tech companies need to be held
accountable for the things on their platform and we need congress to pressure them and ask them questions. >> there should be strong bipartisan support for standing up and confronting hate today. we are in a very polarized oment in our country, but this is one crisis that absolutely should be uniting people of all races, all faiths, and all partisan affiliations. what can congress do? oversight. oversight is critical. the fbi needs to be brought in to speak to the black identity extremists destinations, so we can understand whether and how much of their resources they are diverting. it is all coming autthe expense of our government to fight white
supremacy. we know there have been some federal hate crime cases but frankly there should be more happening at this moment. bringing in the head of the civil rights division and having him speak to how much are they using the james bird and matthew shepard crime prevention act to hold perpetrators accountable right now is really critical. finding out how much they are and or not doing to train support local law enforcement eaggeds, many of which frankly need their help. finding out how they are using their title vi responsibility to incentivize better behavior from law enforcement agencies. finding out what they are doing
or not doing to purge white supremacists from their ranks is also critical. i want to echo my colleague finding out how to confront online hate is truly critical. there are virtually no tools in our arsenal, no laws to hold tech accountable and we rely on them to self police their way out of these problems. that is why we ended up in this position with facebook coming up with a policy that was absolutely indefensible and defied logic. so figuring out how we put in place the real online civil rights act that has a private right of action, so that we can use the law and turn to the courts to hold them accountable is critical. i what also put out there that bring in the department of education in and secretary betsy devos to find out what anything she is doing to address the problem of bullying in schools and the rise in hate we see inside of our nation's public schools and in our publicly funded colleges and campuses would also be critical. but as mia notes, it is not all
on congress. this isn't all on our lawmakers. all of us have a role to play. the status quo is not acceptable, we have to speak out. we have to be creative. and we have to figure out what we can all do to address this grave crisis that is tearing our country apart. >> we received a lot of really strong questions from the audience. and apologies we were not able to get to all of them, but i will stay after and i know my team will as well, so we're happy to connect with offices in serve as a resource. thank you for coming out, thank you to the team for their help. and it really does not matter unless we do something about it. so please be in contact with us, we are happy to work together. [applause]
>> former house speaker john boehner of ohio and harry reid of nevada discuss a range of issues including education, the future of work and how congress should proceed in the wake over the mueller report. their comments came during a symposium sponsored by the university of nevada. here is a portion where the two leaders discuss the state of education. pre-k wasn't as widespread as it needed to be and still isn't. elementary schools were not really getting the job done and so it kind of got stopped in its
tracks because we were not ready for it. what is one of the biggest costs at unlv? remedial education for their incoming students. it drives up the cost of education and frankly it should not be necessary. i think what has happened over he last 15-20 years is another look. how do we make sure that every child has a chance at a decent education? i don't know that we have the answers to that yet. because the schools are a component. but home is a component and the communities that the kids grow up in are components. and we as a society i think owe every kid a chance of a decent education. but it is going to take all three of those components to make it happen. if you're poor, you live in a rotten neighborhood, there are probably not books at home,
there are probably not educational activities at home and in many cases not much in the community. that's why i think girls clubs, oys clubs, friars clubs, ymca's, those types of activities are absolutely essential if we're going to do a better job of educating the nextgen ration. >> one of the things that i think we should all realize is we have all of these good ideas for education but the one thing we don't talk about often, teachers. what are we seeing going around america today? we have seen it in west virginia. we have seen it in kentucky. a number of other states where the teachers have said we have had enough with how we're being treated and we're going to change it. they have done it by bringing the education system to the legislators and said either help us or you swropet any teachers
to teach. i think we need to involve teachers more. we haven't gotten the message by what has happened with teachers taking over state capitols, i think we should understand what e want to improve education. >> former house speaker john boehner and harry reid discuss a range of issues including education and the future of work. you can see the entire discussion today at 6:35 p.m. eastern on c-span. online c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. onen wednesday, democratic presidential connecticut and u.s. representative seth moulton of massachusetts spokes at a politics and eggs breakfast in bedford, new hampshire. the 3046 minute event was host bid the new hampshire institute of politics and the new england