The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Friday announced three new initiatives aimed to address rising hate crimes. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOJ reported a rise in hate crimes. Last year, the DOJ implemented the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to combat hate crimes and hate incidents in the US.
On Friday, the DOJ announced three new initiatives. First, the DOJ will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue new guidance aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, the DOJ will release grant funding for state-run hate crime reporting hotlines and to support community-based approaches to prevent and address hate crimes. Lastly, the department will hire its first Language Access Coordinator to expand department language resources.
In the statement, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland explained:
Throughout our history, and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear they inflict on entire communities. No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate fueled violence. The Justice Department will continue to use every resource at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.
The new initiatives come in the wake of a shooting in Buffalo, New York, last week that the FBI called “racially motivated violent extremism.” Some commentators criticized Garland for not directly addressing the link between hate crimes and gun violence.