Thank you so much Andrea. I want to add my thanks and my welcome to our distinguished guests, members of Congress, our partners from the civil rights and law enforcement, and public health communities, and especially to the families of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara.
Thank you all for gathering today to commemorate the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s signing of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act and the Jabara-Heyerd NO HATE Act.
Ensuring the rule of law and making real the promise of equal justice are the principles upon which the Department of Justice was founded. And these are the principles that are the department’s North Star.
No one in America should fear violence because of who they are. The department will not tolerate any form of terrorism, hate-based violence, or unlawful discrimination.
To live up to and to live by these principles, the Attorney General has charged us to pursue a whole of department approach to combatting hate crimes and bias-related incidents — from education and sharing best practices to grant making, to how we work to prevent, respond to, investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
As the Attorney General said, we will use every tool and legal authority at our disposal to combat hate crimes and bias-motivated extremism. And when the unimaginable happens — as it did last Saturday in Buffalo — we will bring every resource to bear to respond and to seek justice.
We are committed to drawing on the full resources of the department and the expertise across all of its components. The communities we serve deserve no less.
Earlier this week the Attorney General and I and the Associate Attorney General – as well as the leaders from the FBI, the ATF, the National Security Division, the Civil Rights Division, we all gathered with the U.S. Attorney community from across the country and we gathered to discuss the horror that happened in Buffalo and we gathered to discuss how we respond as one Department of Justice.
The Civil Rights Division, of course, has deep expertise in investigating hate crimes and responding to these horrific incidents in tandem with our state and local partners. Sadly though, the muscle memory for these responses is now well established.
The National Security Division provides leadership on responding to domestic terrorism and is working in lock step with the Civil Rights Division when hate crimes and bias motivated extremism rear their profoundly ugly heads.
The FBI’s investigators, and victim services, and forensics experts all immediately launch in partnership with state and local and community experts.
And, of course, the Community Relation Service plays a crucial role working with our community partners as the department’s peacekeepers.
In the year since the Attorney General’s memorandum on improving our efforts to combat hate crimes and hate incidents — the department has taken a number of significant steps:
We’ve established an expediter within the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division to ensure rapid review of hate crimes incidents;
The FBI has launched a National Anti-Hate Crimes campaign including 56 FBI field offices to encourage reporting;
Every U.S. Attorney’s Office across the country has designated civil rights coordinators, in their offices, to enhance our enforcement of civil rights laws.
We have also piloted a new outreach training called the United Against Hate Effort to help improve the reporting of hate crimes by training community members and providing an opportunity for trust building between law enforcement and the communities that we serve.
The horrific events from last weekend are a stark reminder of the devastating effect and impact of hate crimes on entire communities.
The steps that we’ve outlined today and the more to come reflect a firm belief here in the department and among this leadership team that it is our collective responsibility to do all we can to confront hate in all its forms. We are committed to doing just that.
And now, I’m pleased to introduce the Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.