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Clinton Announces Initiatives to Counter Hate-driven Violence

November 11, 1997
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Calling hate crimes the “antithesis of the values that define us as a nation,” President Clinton has announced a series of law enforcement and prevention efforts to counter the scourge of hate-driven violence.

Clinton announced the initiatives at a daylong White House Conference on Hate Crimes on Monday that brought together more than 350 civil rights activists, educators, religious leaders, law enforcement officials and victims of hate crimes.

The administration’s focus on the issue stems from Clinton’s race relations initiative.

“Anybody who thinks that in the world of today and tomorrow that he or she can hide from the kind of poison that we see in various places in our country is living in a dream world,” Clinton said.

“Whether we like it or not, our futures are bound together, and it is time we acted like it.”

Clinton said the government, among other steps, would create a network of local hatecrime working groups to coordinate investigations and prosecutions and assign more than 50 new FBI agents and prosecutors to work on hate-crimes enforcement.

He also endorsed legislation that Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plan to introduce to give federal prosecutors authority to prosecute racial violence and hate crimes against women, the disabled, and gay and lesbian Americans.

Jewish groups participating in the conference praised Clinton for focusing national attention on the problem.

In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League emphasized, however, that “the full potential of the conference will only be realized if it sparks the development of a forward-looking national prevention and education strategy to address hate crimes and the prejudice that motivates them.”

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