Less than a week after mass shootings targeting the Black and Taiwanese communities, the Justice Department unveiled a plan to combat hate crimes. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new guidelines for law enforcement officials and local leaders in conjunction with state grants focused on hate crime prevention programs and data gathering. The department will give out $10 million grants that will fund the creation of reporting hotlines and aid law enforcement in sending data on hate crimes to the federal government. Half of that money will also support community-based programs to prevent and address hate crimes, reports Courthouse News Service.
Full-time language access coordinator Ana Paula Noguez Mercado will join the Justice Department to improve language interpretation and hate-crime reporting among non-English speaking communities. Speaking of the murder of 10 Black shoppers in Buffalo, Garland said Friday, “Last weekend’s attack was a painful reminder of the singular impact that hate crimes have not only on individuals, but on entire communities. They bring immediate devastation. They inflict lasting fear.” Garland had planned the policy announcement ahead of the Buffalo attack to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act and the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act, legislation Congress passed in 2021 to fund anti-hate crime work.