Working With Latinos To Combat Hate Crimes

We have a lot more work to do.
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At the Anti-Defamation League, we deeply believe immigrant communities must be treated with respect – free of prejudice, bigotry and the hateful rhetoric that has tarnished our national conversations. Our mission has guided us to do so since we were founded. Many of us in the American Jewish community have parents or grandparents who sought refuge in this nation of immigrants.

As we witnessed in Charlottesville and can see every hour on social media, extremists feel emboldened. We have seen their arrogant display of bigotry against marginalized communities of all kinds and we are deeply concerned about this ongoing harassment. The best thing for us to do is join efforts, be an ally and – together – speak up against hatred.

In particular, we know the Latino community in the U.S. has experienced an increase in hate incidents and hate crimes. But due to fear of reporting, we do not have solid data to show the extent of the problem.

Yesterday, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry and ADL signed an agreement that will create a framework to provide assistance to people of Mexican heritage who are victims of discrimination, bullying and hate crimes. This officially launches a new partnership between us to fight back against the rising tide of hate crimes and bigotry facing Mexican nationals and immigrants living in America.

This initiative is rooted in shared values between ADL and the Mexican government: opposing hate and discrimination; promoting respectful and inclusive communities; and protecting the rights of every person.

In the first phase of the program, ADL will deploy experts on hate crimes, hate groups, and discrimination to the 50 Mexican consulates across the U.S., where they will meet with consular staff and provide training on fighting harassment, responding to discrimination and hate crimes, identifying hate groups, understanding anti-immigrant movements, and working to counter bullying and cyberbullying.

In the second phase, ADL and the Foreign Ministry will work together to gather data on cases where Mexican nationals are facing discrimination, and partner on an awareness-raising campaign to ensure victims know where to turn for help when they need it most. Hate crimes data collection provides an essential baseline for understanding the nature and magnitude of the problem, which enables effective policy responses.

We commend Mexico’s leadership on this issue. Mexico’s 50 consulates across the U.S. are on the front lines in providing services to communities in need. With the proper training and information, consulate staff will be better equipped to field discrimination and bias complaints and to have a rapid response mechanism in place for when discrimination is first reported.

Also, by developing resources in Spanish, such as our newly launched campaign #DenunciaElOdio, we can share what we’ve learned with the Latino community and people of Mexican heritage on how to combat prejudice and hate.

This partnership is already underway. To date, ADL has delivered trainings to more than 150 community affairs officers at Mexican consulates in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, New York, Sacramento and San Francisco. The collaboration will now be greatly expanded, with all of Mexico’s U.S. consulates in close coordination with ADL’s network of 26 regional offices.

We see this agreement as a significant milestone for ADL. For more than 100 years, we have fought bias and hate in society, and helped victims of bigotry and discrimination find their voice. And for more than three decades, ADL has spearheaded the drafting, enactment, and implementation of hate crime laws nationwide, working in partnership with other civil rights and religious organizations and law enforcement agencies.

We know we have a lot more work to do. That’s why we are committed to this new partnership and confident that it will help make our country and our communities more inclusive, open, safe and respectful toward all. Because when fair treatment is secured for all, our democracy is stronger.