Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $400,000)
The Houston Police Department (HPD) seeks $400,000 in funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the FY2022 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Program to implement Solidarity Against Hate: Building Trust to Enhance Response to Hate Crimes and Incidents in the Houston Area. This project will build trust between and among law enforcement, prosecution, community-based organizations, and the public to: 1) increase public awareness and reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents, 2) build community intolerance to hate, 3) enhance the response capacity of community-based organizations, 4) facilitate hate crimes investigations and prosecutions, and 5) secure justice for hate crime victims.
The Solidarity Against Hate initiative represents a collaborative initiative that has been developed by multiple stakeholders. Though HPD is the lead applicant, the project will involve multiple law enforcement and district attorney offices from counties in southeast Texas. Additionally, more than half of the funding will be subawarded to the Houston Coalition Against Hate, a local network of community-based organizations, institutions and leaders working to reduce hate end encourage belonging.
The proposed initiative takes a comprehensive approach to addressing an increase in hate crimes and hate incidents. The project area is a large, four county area with more than six million residents. It will formalize a Hate Crimes Working Group through the local US Attorney’s Office, developing and executing formal MOUs among project partners within the first year of the project. It will provide training for law enforcement to ensure that they are familiar with hate crimes laws and reporting procedures. It will provide training for investigators of hate crimes. It will provide training for prosecutors, as well as a discussion forum for them to talk about the challenges associated with prosecuting these crimes. The team will develop a standard training to be used at outreach events for civic group, student associations, and the public. The Houston Coalition Against Hate will also develop and provide a training for community based organizations to ensure they are able to appropriately serve any victim to discloses a hate crime victimization to them.
The project team experienced and diverse. They are committed to the regular review of required performance data to ensure that the project stays on budget, on time, and on mission.