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Last week, Michigan Equality announced a new educational campaign designed to address the growing issue of hate motivated crimes and violence. Hate crimes against Michigan’s LGBT community increased 133 percent, according to a new report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Prevention.
Every week, Michigan Equality will feature articles, blog posts and new programs designed to help people talk about hate crimes and hate speech. In the fall, Michigan Equality will host a series of community workshops, thanks to a generous grant from the Arcus Foundation’s Gay and Lesbian Fund.
Michigan is home to 26 active hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nationally-recognized civil rights organization which monitors and reports on the activities of hate groups throughout the United States. Michigan’s hate groups include neo-Nazi groups, Christian Identity churches and the only university-supported student hate group in the country: Young Americans for Freedom, Michigan State University chapter. In addition, in December of last year, the National Socialist Party, a leading neo-Nazi group, announced it had moved its national headquarters from Minnesota to Detroit.
Since September 2007, there have been reports of nooses at Central Michigan University and a disturbing videotaped beating of a “gay rights advocate” at Wayland Union High School just last month. Even Michigan Equality’s neighborhood, Old Town Lansing, wasn’t immune from anti-gay graffiti spray painted on a dozen buildings just a block away from their office.
What Can You Do?
Check Michigan Equality’s Web site often for updates on hate crimes and hate speech.
Contact your legislator and demand that he or she support Matt’s Safe Schools Law.
Check out YAF Watch, a blog that tracks the Young Americans for Freedom, MSU Chapter.
Write a letter to your newspaper editor about “Independence from Hate Crimes & Speech” month.
Donate to or volunteer for Michigan Equality.