CBA Record January-February 2022

Hate andWhat You Can Do About It By Lynn Semptimphelter Kopon, CBA Record Editorial Board Member T he Chicago Bar Association DICE Committee (Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, Equity and Engagement),

in partnership with the CBA Record and the Young Lawyers Section, presented a two-part CLE series: Commentary and Conversation: Hate and What You Can Do About It. The series delivered important infor- mation to advance the DICE Committee’s mission, which is to educate and equip lawyers to address and challenge anti- minority attitudes and sentiments. DICE is co-chaired by Nina Fain and Justice Michael B. Hyman, Illinois Appellate Court and CBA Record Editor-in-Chief, who moderated the series. In her introductory remarks, CBA President E. Lynn Grayson noted that the FBI’s 2020 hate crime data shows the highest level of hate crimes in the United States since 2008. Yet the numbers, while crucial, do not represent the true extent of the problem, due to underreporting or failure to report by victims as well as law enforcement. Noting that systemic racism is at the heart of hate crimes, Grayson pointed out that in 2020, hate crimes against Asian Americans were up 70%, and against Afri- can Americans 40%. Racism has always existed, but in recent years it has come out of the closet. Hyman stated that racism weakens us, devastates us, and divides us. He emphasized that as lawyers, we have an affirmative duty to step up, stand up, and speak up. The recognition of hate crimes, as distinct from other forms of crime, can be traced back to the 1980s; 46 states now have some form of hate crime law. In the FBI’s 2020 data, race and ethnicity accounted for 63.7% of all hate crimes among other categories of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability. A sharp rise in hate crimes against African Americans between 2014 and 2020 was noted. These rising num- bers, combined with declining participa- tion in reporting by police departments,

community. Organizations advocating for the rights of this community include LAMBDA Legal, Center on Halstead, Aids Foundation, Equality Illinois, and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. Myths, politicization, and stereotyp- ing are all prominent in racism and hate crimes. For example, regarding the myth that Asian immigrants are model immi- grants, history shows that this myth was intentionally promulgated by a white sociologist to pit Asian Americans against African Americans. In fact, the Asian community suffers from some of the greatest wealth disparities in the country. Much of this disparity can be traced to immigration laws that in some cases admitted only low-skilled Asian laborers at certain points in time and only high- skilled, educated immigrants at others. These selective immigration policies have contributed to the stereotypes related to Asian immigrants. People with criminal records can also be victims of hate crimes. Almost 95% of people who have been incarcerated will be released back into the community. In Illinois, there is no real “second chance” because once involved in the system, these people only get punished, not rehabili- tated. And since violence can result from

indicate that the hate problem is on the rise. The Anti-Defamation League’s response is anti-bias education; advo- cacy for comprehensive and inclusive hate crime laws; prioritization of data collection; and a community-centered approach. The series highlighted the many faces of hate in our communities. After the attack of 9/11 in New York, there were 32 murders of Arab Americans and attacks on churches, mosques and businesses. Efforts of the Middle Eastern and North African communities here in Chicago, resulted in inclusion of this group in the Business Enterprise Ordinances. Minority Busi- ness Enterprise recognition is important to minority business in Chicago, and this hard-fought recognition was a sign of progress and inclusion. Among the many faces of hate, 2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for the murder of transgender people. The specific targeting of transgender women of color remains a paramount concern. It is important to recognize the reality of this hate and to actively engage in efforts to combat it. Among the LGBT+ com- munity, nearly one-third of young people in school will hear a negative comment from a faculty member regarding this

10 January/February 2022

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