Nydia Velázquez Wants $50 Million to Fight Hate Crimes
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) unveiled legislation this month that would authorize an additional $50 million in federal funds to help prevent, track and prosecute hate crimes, and assist victims. “Like many, I’ve been profoundly disturbed by the spike in hate crimes in recent years,” Velázquez said. “My legislation will ensure the federal government puts forth necessary resources to combat this scourge.” Hate crime reports increased 17% from 2016, according to the FBI, rising for the third consecutive year as heated racial rhetoric and actions have come to be ubiquitous across the news cycle. Among other provisions, the measure provides $15 million in federal resources to bolster local law enforcement hate crimes training. Funds under this program are allocated to not only solve hate crimes but to also facilitate discussion with community stakeholders whose members are at risk of being victims. Grants would be targeted to jurisdictions that have high levels of hate crime activity. The program also encourages community policing and diverse recruitment of police officers. Velázquez’s bill would also provide another $20 million for hate crime hotlines and websites, which would be operated by states or local governments in collaboration with community stakeholders. And the bill allocates another $15 million for victims’ assistance through the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department Office of Justice. These funds would help nonprofits and faith-based organizations expand or launch local programs that assist those who have been harmed through hate crimes. “Whether these vile attacks are aimed at our Jewish neighbors, immigrants, members of our LGBTQ community, or any other group, they constitute an attack on us all and we must be united in fighting back,” Velázquez said.