Though latest report released last October 2006 by the US Department of Justice – FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program showed a decrease in total number of reported incidents, 7,163 in 2005 vs. 7,649 in 2004 (Hate Crime Statistics 2005), there has been an inversely growing awareness on this topic among various stakeholders – legislators, law enforcement officials, and the American public – such that term “hate crime” has become a part of everyday vernacular among Americans.
Three factors contributed to this growing awareness. Firstly, the organizational initiatives, normally the offended party group in order to protect their civil rights, are taking active roles, through their advocacy campaigns, support services and education programs.
Prominent proponents, among others, are American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for all Americans, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for the Jewish, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD), La Alianza Hispana for the Latin-Hispanics and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for African-American group. Secondly, the Federal Government on its part, through the DA’s Office has a Civil Rights Unit composed of attorneys for education and intervention services, working in cooperation with victim-witness advocates.
In addition, Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crime has its ‘Stop the Hate Website’ Campaign promoting awareness of hate crimes and providing resources for responding to and preventing such acts. Thirdly, concerned group initiatives, such as NGOs in the likes of Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education programs and litigations, play an independent, third-party role in increasing hate crime awareness.