Mission & Staff
Our Hate Crime Project implements a comprehensive strategy that addresses hate incidents and hate crime on many levels. While we are acting quickly, we want to act the right way—working with communities affected by hate, rather than imposing solutions from outside. To that end, our efforts are guided by community input and feedback.
Our multi-pronged approach includes:
Community-Based Lawyering: We are working with community-based partner organizations, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, to conduct broad outreach and education, and disseminate information that increases knowledge, awareness and identification of hate speech and hate crimes.
Community Trainings: We are conducting Know-Your-Rights trainings on hate speech and hate crimes to targeted groups, including members of Muslim , Black , immigrant, Latinx, LGBTQ communities, and persons with disabilities. Trainings include both direct Know-Your-Rights trainings for community members and Train-the-Trainer events to build community organizations’ capacity to deliver their own trainings.
Legal Representation: We work with the private bar to provide quick response around hate incidents, including providing support to victims in the criminal process, providing legal representation in civil lawsuits for compensatory and punitive damages to punish and deter hate crimes, and building awareness within legal community of issues facing vulnerable communities.
Administrative Advocacy: We work with local, city and state officials, including Chicago Commission on Human Relations, the Cook County and other State’s Attorney’s Offices, police departments, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Illinois Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights to coordinate hate speech and hate incident reporting and response.
Policy Reform: We work with community groups to identify issues and formulate key policy responses for enhancing safety, encouraging reporting, improving hate crime legislation in Illinois, and developing best practices for supporting individual victims and community organizations.
Key Project Staff
Julie Justicz, Project Coordinator