Our Response to Charlottesville

The white supremacist rhetoric of the 2016 election cycle exploded into violence and murder this weekend in Charlottesville. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee mourns the loss of life and joins the cries of our nation. Let us be clear. This was not merely an exercise of First Amendment freedom of speech and assembly. This was hate crime at its worst.

Sadly, hate crime is not new in America, and Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has been fighting hate crime – a cornerstone civil rights violation - since our founding in the 1960s. The images of violent, emboldened young white men on the television screens over the weekend were eerily similar to photographs from the 1966 Chicago Freedom Movement march in Marquette Park on the southwest side of Chicago. Our President’s refusal to name and condemn white supremacy will only intensify the renewed violent bigotry that drove a car into a crowd of people and murdered 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Building on our long history of legal action to reduce hate crime, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee relaunched our Hate Crime Project in 2016 to respond to the spike in hate crime in Illinois and across the country, and the broadening of targeted groups, including Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people.   

As one of the oldest and largest racial justice organizations in Illinois, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has recommitted to advancing racial equity as central to our mission as a modern-day civil rights organization. The struggle to fight hatred and discrimination is far from over. Join us and our community partners as we continue to work for equity and justice in our city and state.

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT OUR HATE CRIME PROJECT OR TO REPORT A HATE INCIDENT, CALL OUR HATE CRIME HELPLINE AT 312-202-3663.

To bolster our legal efforts to stop hate crime in Illinois, donate here.