Racism, Islamophobia, discrimination, and hate crimes are certainly not new issues for people of color and all marginalized groups in the United States. But the FBI recently released a report that showed surges in hate crimes in 2015, particularly against Muslim Americans. And since Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and now his election victory, there's been numerous reports of hate crimes across the country — and, in many of them, the attackers have reportedly cited Trump's presidential win during their acts. Unfortunately, many hate crimes go unreported, but here's how to report a hate crime if you experience or witness one. Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a video statement on Friday, urging viewers to report such crimes.
In the beginning of her speech, Lynch cited to the FBI report, which revealed that the bureau found a 6-percent increase in hate crimes in 2015, bringing the total amount catalogued to 5,818.
Lynch said the report, which she referred to as "sobering," revealed a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans:
Earlier this week the FBI released its statistics on hate crimes committed in 2015. These numbers should be deeply sobering for all Americans. Among other alarming trends, the report showed a 67 percent increase in hate crimes committed against Muslim Americans. It also showed increased in the number of hate crimes committed against Jewish people, African-Americans, and LGBT individuals. Overall the number of reported hate crimes increased 6 percent, a number that does not account for the many hate crimes that may go unreported out of shame, or fear.
Lynch remarked on the seeming recent explosion of hate crimes — many of which have been related to Trump's election victory, as activists like New York Daily News writer Shaun King has continually pointed out — and the importance of reporting these crimes.
Lynch urged viewers to report hate crimes to local law enforcement and the Department of Justice. "We need you to continue to report these incidents to local law enforcement, as well as the Justice Department," she said. "So that our career investigators and prosecutors, can take action to defend your rights."
Lynch also charged viewers to visit the civil rights division of the Department of Justice to learn more about federal hate crime laws. Some states like Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts have reacted to reports of post-election hate crimes, by setting up a toll free hotline for hate crimes.
Below is a list of the respective hate crime hotline information for Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland:
New York hate crime hotline: 1-888-392-3644
Maryland hate crime hotline: 1-866-481-8361
If your state hasn't launched a specific hotline for hate crimes, as Lynch noted, you can report it to your local law enforcement, indicating the hate crime, and also with the local FBI field office, listed by DOJ here.