Activities, Challenges & Lesssons Learned
MIAAHC is created by authority of the President of the United States to the Department of Justice, United States Attorneys’ Offices, and the Governor of the State of Michigan to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and Civil Rights Department.
In April 1994, the Governor of the State of Michigan responded to reports of increased hate and violence by requesting the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and Department of Civil Rights to establish the Bias Crime Response Task Force.
The task force, a diverse group representing populations victimized by bias crimes as well as agencies and governmental units which offer various related services, researched the issues of data collection, victim support and community response. It then developed a comprehensive report that outlines best method recommendations for combating hate crimes.
The formation and work of the task force put Michigan at the national forefront in the effort to actively address hate crimes. As a direct result, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights was invited to attend the White House Conference on Hate Crimes.
Early in 1997 the Attorney General of the United States directed her counselor to develop a Department of Justice initiative to address hate crimes. In October 1997 the counselor presented recommendations from the Working Groups which were then used by the President with regard to the White House Conference on Hate Crimes scheduled November 10, 1997.
Following the conference, the President and Attorney General directed each of the nation’s United States Attorneys to establish a statewide working group to coordinate hate crimes enforcement and encourage hate crime education.
The Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes (MIAAHC) is the result of the collaborative effort which combines federal, state, and local law enforcement, civil rights organizations, community groups, educators and anti-violence advocates to establish a coordinated statewide effort against hate crimes.
Active member participation and continuous engagement. It is difficult to maintain engagement on both the prevention and response work we do given the limitations. While the publicity and concern is raised after an incident, the work of building networks and engaging in preventive efforts takes time and resources. There can be in some institutions ( government, schools, law enforcement, community groups, communities) push-back when they have not directly experienced "hate." Fighting the mentality that "it doesn't happen here and if it did, we'd be ready".