After a series of events, including a noose at a construction site in Windsor and a swastika at the University of Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont named the first Hate Crimes Advisory Council Tuesday to help reduce what he said has been an increase in hate crimes.
“Today we are taking a very important step forward to combat hate crimes in our state. By announcing the Connecticut Hate Crimes Advisory Council,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said.
Bysiewicz said the hate crimes advisory council reflects the diversity of the state encouraging and supporting programs that increase community awareness and improve reporting of hate crimes.
“There’s no room for any hate against any group in the state of connecticut. Unfortunately we all know there has been an uptick. The rhetoric in the country and some of the conduct has been extremely concerning,” Doug Lavine said.
Lavine will be the council co-chair along with Amy Lin Meyerson, president of the Connecticut Bar Association.
“The council will also make recommendations on how we can further protect victims of hate crimes and how we can remedy the damage that’s been caused by these crimes,” Meyerson said.
Attorney General William Tong said they are seeing an uptick in these types of crime.
“We’re seeing a surge of hate crimes against all people but against Asian Americans, 150% surge across the country. More than 800% in New York City and we all know of course of horrific events in Atlanta,” Tong said.
“We’ve here before. I’m sorry to say we’re here again,” he added.
“If you don’t stand up every day to this type of hatred. It will continue. And it’s not going to continue in Connecticut,” Lamont said.
Created by a recently adopted state law, the council will be responsible for encouraging and coordinating programs that increase community awareness and reporting of hate crimes and to combat such crimes.
“One of the biggest challenges in hate crimes law enforcement is making sure people in communities that are targeted those communities tend not to have the strongest relationships with law enforcement. They may be immigrant communities,” Tong said.
Part of the council’s goal will be to increase communication with law enforcement.
Steven Hernadez said they have to continue to efforts they started during the pandemic.
“Civic engagement is an action verb and we have to do it in the languages of the people of the state of Connecticut,” Hernandez says.
The council can also make recommendations for legislation concerning hate crimes, including recommendations on restitution for victims.