Coalition of Community Groups Joins Together Tackle Hate Through Legislation

By Julia Gay

 

 

 

Incidents of hate have risen precipitously over the last three years in Minnesota. The FBI reported a national increase in hate crimes for 2019, and in 2020 we saw a shocking rise in attacks against Asian American communities that has continued into this year.

In the face of this worrying trend, community groups representing a cross section of Minnesotans came together to form Communities Combating Hate. Their mission is to fight for policy changes that would address the rise in hate.

“Our communities are hurting right now,” says Nick Kor, Senior Manager of Movement Building at the Coalition of Asian American Leaders “The murders in Atlanta highlight the extreme hate that Asian Americans are facing at this moment. Here in Minnesota, we are being targeted, harassed, and attacked on the streets, in stores, and in our own homes. State leaders need to act now. We are glad to join together with other community-based organizations to end hate in Minnesota.”

One of their first goals is to push for changes to the way Minnesota tracks hate incidents. 

That’s because current statutes give law enforcement agencies – and law enforcement agencies alone – the discretion to track and report hate incidents in their jurisdictions. 

Currently, the only official data collected on hate incidents is reported voluntarily from law enforcement agencies. This creates a bottleneck, where many events go unreported, as many survivors feel uncomfortable reporting to law enforcement or have seen their traumas misclassified.

CCHC is working with State Representative Frank Hornstein (61A) to craft a bill that would address those concerns. HF 1691/ SF 2003 would close loopholes in state law that misclassify hateful incidents and would also allow victims to report hate incidents to non-law enforcement entities, like community organizations and the MN Department of Human Rights. It also updates the definition of hate crimes to explicitly list gender identity and expression and calls for providing support to the victims of hate crimes.

For more information visit their website at www.stophatemn.org.