Description

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed an increase in violent hate crimes across America. The litany of names has become familiar. Along with the brutal, hate-motivated murders of James Byrd Jr. in Texas, Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, and Billy Jack Gaither in Alabama, hate-motivated attacks continue to strike fear into the hearts of many different communities.  Particularly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, hate-based attacks upon Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs increased at a frightening rate.

Antisemitism, white supremacy, and other forms of bigotry have all risen dramatically in the U.S. in recent years, as shown by the FBI Hate Crimes Statistics (required under the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act). Collecting accurate information about these hate crimes, government and non-governmental organizations can better plan and program educational activities to combat hatred.

While hate crime laws cannot eliminate bigotry, legislation serves as a deterrent to those individuals who choose to act on their hatred by imposing stricter penalties against the perpetrators of these crimes. Although the stricter punishment is critical, the goal of hate crimes laws is often tied to the idea of educating perpetrators, law enforcement officers, and the general public about the scourge of hate in our society.

What's New

Hate Crimes Continued to Rise in 2020: Will the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Give Us Hope for the Future?

October 15, 2021
In late August, the FBI released its annual compilation of hate crimes statistics, summarizing all hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2020. The data is alarming and only tells part of the story, as an increasing number of law enforcement agencies did not report data to the FBI. A new law will strengthen hate crimes data collection, reporting, and response measures, giving us hope that future statistics will be more accurate.

Related Press Releases

Reform Jewish Leader Expresses Alarm Over President’s Anti-Muslim Tweets

For Immediate Release November 29, 2017 WASHINGTON—In response to President Trump’s retweets of inflammatory and misleading anti-Muslim propaganda videos, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and wider Reform Movement: “Sharing anti-Muslim