The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

Hate crimes remain a festering and horrifying problem in the United States. Although there are laws on the books to deter hate crimes and protect their victims, significant gaps remain unfilled.

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Government Report Points to Rise in Hate Groups

April 21, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Rightwing Extremism report cover

Hate groups and right wing extremists are using Americans' concern about undocumented immigration, the current economic downtown, and the election of the first African-American president to gain new recruits, according to a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report leaked last week.

As was the case during the recession of the early 1990s, hate groups have exploited the perception that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens and used it as a call to action. The report notes that the anti-immigrant rhetoric by right-wing extremists "has the potential to turn violent."

Fear of a pending economic collapse has also made it easy for hate groups to exploit racial tensions and promote paranoia about the possibility that the government will take away certain civil liberties such as the right to bear arms or will create camps to detain citizens unlawfully. Many extremist groups, including militias, have stockpiled weapons and ammunition in preparation.

Much of the government's findings are consistent with a recent Southern Poverty Law Center report on hate group activity in the U.S.  that found an increase in the number of hate groups nationwide between 2007 and 2008.

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Tomorrow Students Will Participate in National Day of Silence to End Bullying

April 16, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Day of Silence logo

Tomorrow is the National Day of Silence, the largest student-run action to end bullying and create safer schools for all, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Participants across the country take a vow of silence and only speak when necessary during the day to raise awareness about the problem of anti-LGBT bullying.

The first Day of Silence was organized in 1996 by students at the University of Virginia. A year later, nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. Last year, more than 8,000 middle schools, high schools, and universities participated nationwide.

This year students are choosing different ways to spread the word about the Day of Silence. Some are using Twitter to encourage people to participate. Others are wearing face masks with an "X" over the mouth to represent their silence or t-shirts with messages like, "Gay? Fine by me."

According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, almost 30 percent of youth in the U.S. are involved in bullying, either as a bully, a target of bullying, or both.

In recent years, numerous incidents of children committing suicide because of being bullied have made the news. On April 6, an 11-year-old boy named Carl Walker-Hoover hanged himself after enduring daily taunts of being gay and tormented by his peers. Hoover, who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 today.

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Human Rights Campaign Launches Website to Push for Federal Hate Crimes Bill

April 8, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

This week, the Human Rights Campaign launched a new website to push for passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA).

FightHateNow.org provides background information on the LLEHCPA, features photos and videos about the devastating impact of hate crimes, and allows website visitors to directly contact their members of Congress to support the bill.

The LLEHCPA, introduced in the House last week, will authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.  Currently, the federal government can only investigate hate crimes motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, and national origin.

It would also provide local authorities with more resources to combat hate crimes and give the federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate.

In this video from the new site, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR, explains why the LLEHCPA is an important civil rights bill.


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Number of Hate Groups in the U.S. Increases in 2008

March 2, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Intelligence Report cover with images of hate group participants and the worlds

The number of hate groups in the United States increased to 926 in 2008, up 54 percent since 2000, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) latest "Intelligence Report."

A "hate group" is an organization that promotes hate or violence towards members of an entire class of people, based on characteristics such as race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

According to the report, the number of hate groups continues to grow because of the recession, the election of President Obama, and fears of Latino immigration. 

"The idea of a black man in the White House, combined with the deepening economic crisis and continuing high levels of Latino immigration, has given white supremacists a real platform on which to recruit," said Mark Potok, the report's editor and staff director of SPLC's Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups in the U.S.

Hate crimes against Latinos have been increasing since 2003, but African Americans are still the largest group of hate crime victims, according to the latest FBI data.  The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, which has not been introduced in this session of Congress yet, would provide local authorities with more resources to combat hate crimes and give federal government jurisdiction over processing hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate.

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Staten Island Man Pleads Guilty to Election Night Hate Crime Attacks

January 27, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

On January 26, Brian Carranza plead guilty to charges of conspiring to assault African Americans for his participation in a series of hate crimes in Staten Island, NY on November 4.


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Current Legislation

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law on October 28, 2009.

A version of the Act was first introduced in 1997, and the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed some version of it at various times since then.

History of the Act



View photos of this historic day

Documenting Hate Crimes

Fighting Hate

Recent Reports

Coalition Members

In The News

Recent news clips on this issue.

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Our Members