One of the most diverse sets of attorneys general in the nation’s history has begun a campaign against hate crimes, even as they are targeted by hate speech and threats themselves, reports Axios.
Led by Washington D.C Attorney General Karl Racine, a Haitian immigrant and one of the group’s first Black presidents to lead the nonpartisan organization of 56 states and territories, the group hopes to use their influence to draw attention to the spike in hate crimes and advocate for changing laws locally and nationally.
Several members of the group, including Racine, have been attacked with racist and hateful messages. The country’s electorate is becoming more diverse, yet hate crimes jumped to record levels last year. And the problem may even be worse. Most police departments don’t bother reporting hate crimes. Hate crime murders hit a record high in 2019, while overall hate crime incidents rose by nearly 3 percent last year, according to the FBI’s annual hate crime report released in November. The jump came as the Southern Poverty Law Center said white nationalist hate groups rose by 55 percent between 2017 and 2019.
Violence and discrimination against Asian Americans also have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Asian American advocacy groups say. The full problem on hate crimes isn’t known, since 88 percent of law enforcement agencies reported no hate crimes or ignored requests to submit data, Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University, told Axios.