washington | Not in Our Town


D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier discusses the formation of the new task force during an interview with the Washington Blade. Photo: Strother Gaines/Washington Blade   Washington, D.C. leaders are ramping up efforts to improve hate crime investigations. Last month, the district mayor and police chief launched a task force that will evaluate how the Metropolitan Police Department investigates and reports hate crimes, particularly those targeting the LGBT community. The task force aims to identify and strengthen investigation weaknesses and build better police-community relations.
The hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church has put Olympia High School on its picketing schedule, arriving tomorrow morning with its messages of hate.  When OHS Principal Matt Grant received the news, he began conversations with the school district and police. He met with students that wanted to craft a non-confrontational response. He also reached out to his colleagues through Not In Our School, receiving support and advice from successful counter-action organizers, such as educator Daisy Renazco, who supported her students when the WBC visited Gunn High School several years ago.   The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), a Topeka, KS-based hate group known for their anti-gay ideologies, begin their protests at the state capitol today, which is the deadline for opponents of marriage equality to turn in the signatures needed to put Washington’s marriage equality law up for a vote. Olympia Unity in the Community organizes a community response. 
Lessons from Olympia, Washington
Press Conference Address from Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force…Editor’s Note: Several weeks ago, Aryan Nations members left recruitment materials and racist pamphlets in neighborhoods in the Inland Northwest area of Washington and Idaho. In response, law enforcement, civic and community leaders from throughout the region held a press conference to speak out against racism and stand together against intolerance. Press Conference Address from Tony Stewart, Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations “As we meet here today, our Inland Northwest communities are once again experiencing the distribution of unwanted, vile hate materials. In recent weeks, there have also been incidents of harassment and violence directed at citizens in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Today’s gathering of the Inland Northwest city mayors and law enforcement officials sends a powerful united voice that we reject the hate and will aggressively prosecute hate crimes. A neo-Nazi, who recently relocated to the Inland Northwest, stated he would re-establish the Aryan Nations in the only part of the United States that would welcome and support the movement.