A town hall discussion centered on hate crimes education was held last week in response to two recent bias-related crimes, or hate crimes, committed on 16th Street NW at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and U Street.
This educational town hall was organized by players from the Stonewall Kickball league for the purpose of opening a discussion on what factors contribute to hate crimes, how hate crimes can be prevented and what to do in dangerous situations.
League players and residents were joined by an expert panel, including a representativefrom the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, a lieutenant from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Liaison Branch and a representative from the DC Center’s Anti-Violence Project.
I’m proud to serve a city that has the strongest protections for people of any race, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and nine other protected classes. We must not let the actions of a few individuals prevent us from moving forward to find solutions to what drives hate.
Reported hate crimes have been on an upward trend over the past few years, as the police lieutenant conveyed at the town hall. Part of the reason for the increase in reports is because more and more residents are stepping forward to report crimes when and where they happen. According to MPD, the number of reported hate crimes in D.C. is at a total of 127 through Aug. 31.
While the data show reported hate crimes broken down by the type of bias, it’s importantto note that any crime resulting from bias is wrong and unacceptable. The Anti-Violence Project shared information about the multiple resources the project provides to the community, such as de-escalation and self-defense training, health and wellness programs and social support. More information can be found at thedccenter.org.
People in our community should report any crime that happens. Our government officials, volunteer groups and police are here to help. The more people who see something and say something, the more likely the police will be able to thoroughly investigate an incident and make an arrest.
Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.