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June 16, 2016 Off

Charleston Anniversary: We Mourn, We Act

One year ago, on June 17, 2015, a white suprema­cist mur­dered nine parish­ioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.   It’s ter­ri­ble – and unfair – that the quiet space in time we should have had to reflect and prop­erly mourn these mur­ders tar­get­ing African-Americans has been lit­er­ally blown apart by another tragedy – even larger in scale – involv­ing the delib­er­ate tar­get­ing of mem­bers of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity in Orlando this past weekend.

We can and must grieve for the vic­tims of the heart­less white suprema­cist who mur­dered nine peo­ple who had wel­comed him into prayer,

com­mu­nion, and fel­low­ship.   We can and must mourn the vic­tims in Orlando cel­e­brat­ing life dur­ing Pride Month and Latino Night.

And:  we can do more than stand in sol­i­dar­ity and mourn.

On this anniver­sary, after a week­end of bias-motivated may­hem, we should reded­i­cate our­selves to ensur­ing that we, as a nation, are doing all we can to fight hate and extremism.

1)     Law enforce­ment author­i­ties are now inves­ti­gat­ing what role – if any – rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam played in inspir­ing the Orlando mur­derer to act — and that work is clearly jus­ti­fied.  But we must rec­og­nize and pay atten­tion to extrem­ism and hate com­ing from all sources – includ­ing white suprema­cists, like the mur­derer in Charleston.

2)     Charleston and Orlando are fur­ther evi­dence that firearms are more pop­u­lar than ever as the deadly weapons of choice for Amer­i­can extrem­ists. We must end lim­i­ta­tions on fed­eral research on gun vio­lence – and make it more dif­fi­cult to obtain firearms through increased wait­ing peri­ods, safety restric­tions, and lim­i­ta­tions on pur­chases – espe­cially of assault-style weapons.   None of these steps will cer­tainly pre­vent the next gun-toting mass mur­derer – but, as Pres­i­dent Obama said, “to actively do noth­ing is a deci­sion as well.”

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Photo Credit: Cal Sr via Flikr

Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal (AME) Church.
Photo Credit: Cal Sr via Flikr

3)     We need more inclu­sive and exten­sive laws in place to com­bat vio­lence moti­vated by hate and extrem­ism.  On the state level, though 45 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia have hate crime laws, a hand­ful of states – includ­ing South Car­olina – do not (the oth­ers are Arkansas, Geor­gia, Indi­ana, and Wyoming).  ADL and a broad coali­tion of three dozen national orga­ni­za­tions have formed #50 States Against Hate to improve the response to all hate crimes, with more effec­tive laws, train­ing, and policies.

And, though hate crime laws are very impor­tant, they are a blunt instru­ment – it’s much bet­ter to pre­vent these crimes in the first place.  Con­gress and the states should com­ple­ment these laws with fund­ing for inclu­sive anti-bias edu­ca­tion, hate crime pre­ven­tion, and bul­ly­ing, cyber­bul­ly­ing, and harass­ment pre­ven­tion train­ing programs.

4)     And finally, let us resolve to more fiercely resist unnec­es­sary and dis­crim­i­na­tory laws, like North Carolina’s HB 2, that deprive indi­vid­u­als of the oppor­tu­nity to live their lives in dig­nity, free from per­se­cu­tion because of their race, reli­gion, national ori­gin, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity, or disability.

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August 20, 2013 Off

ADL Coordinates Coalition Letter On Department Of Education Bullying Data Collection Proposal

On June 21, the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion (DoE) announced a num­ber of revi­sions to its Civil Rights Data Col­lec­tion (CRDC) school sur­vey.  The CRDC is the largest, most impor­tant, and most com­pre­hen­sive data col­lec­tion instru­ment of its kind.  It requires schools and school dis­tricts to pro­vide data on a wide range of rel­e­vant edu­ca­tion issues.  The DoE pro­posed that CRDC add sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and reli­gion to their exist­ing effort to col­lect data on bul­ly­ing and harass­ment on the basis of race, sex, and disability. civil-rights-data-collection-bullying

Accom­pa­ny­ing resources for the DoE announce­ment stated: 

Safe envi­ron­ments are crit­i­cal to learn­ing. Since the 2009, the CRDC has pro­vided a lens on school cli­mate and the bul­ly­ing and harass­ment that stu­dents too often endure on the basis of race, sex, and disability….

ADL coor­di­nated a let­ter from 49 national orga­ni­za­tions pro­vid­ing com­ments relat­ing to these pro­posed CRDC revi­sions.  In our com­ments, ADL and its coali­tion of edu­ca­tion, reli­gious, civil rights and pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tions sup­ported DoE’s deci­sion to expand the CRDC to include reports of bul­ly­ing and harass­ment based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and reli­gion, and encour­aged the col­lec­tion of data on inci­dents based on gen­der iden­tity. We argued that though the impact of bul­ly­ing has been well doc­u­mented, there is insuf­fi­cient data on the nature and mag­ni­tude of bul­ly­ing directed at indi­vid­u­als on the basis of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion – and even less on religion-based and gen­der identity-based bullying.  

ADL and its allies also urged the Depart­ment to recon­sider their pro­posal to elim­i­nate ques­tions relat­ing to whether a school has adopted writ­ten bul­ly­ing pre­ven­tion poli­cies.  An essen­tial start­ing point for effec­tive response to bul­ly­ing and harass­ment in schools is the adop­tion of a com­pre­hen­sive, inclu­sive bul­ly­ing and harass­ment pre­ven­tion pol­icy.  The inclu­sion of ques­tions relat­ing to whether an edu­ca­tion unit has such a pol­icy, the coali­tion argued, ele­vates aware­ness of the value of these poli­cies and demon­strates that hav­ing such poli­cies is impor­tant and sig­nif­i­cant enough to high­light in the CRDC.  The coali­tion let­ter also urged the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to ask the edu­ca­tion units that have adopted a bul­ly­ing and harass­ment pre­ven­tion pol­icy to pro­vide a link to their pol­icy as part of their CRDC response.

A top pri­or­ity for the Anti-Defamation League is work­ing to cre­ate safe, inclu­sive schools and com­mu­ni­ties and ensur­ing that all stu­dents have access to equal edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties.  Over the past decade, the League has emerged as a prin­ci­pal national resource devel­op­ing edu­ca­tion and advo­cacy tools to pre­vent prej­u­dice and big­otry. ADL has built on award-winning anti-bias edu­ca­tion and train­ing ini­tia­tives, includ­ing the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Insti­tute, to craft inno­v­a­tive pro­gram­ming and advo­cacy to address bul­ly­ing and its per­ni­cious elec­tronic form known as cyber­bul­ly­ing.  ADL takes a holis­tic approach to address­ing bul­ly­ing and cyber­bul­ly­ing, track­ing the nature and mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem, devel­op­ing edu­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams, and advo­cat­ing — at the state and fed­eral level — for poli­cies and pro­grams that can make a difference.

It will be incum­bent on ADL and our allies to work with schools and school dis­tricts to make sure schools and school dis­tricts are report­ing this data accu­rately – and using the data to improve the cli­mate for learn­ing for all students.

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