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Making Maine a Place Without Hate

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $400,000)

New England Arab American Organization (NEAAO), a non-profit 501c3 ethnic-based organization, will collaborate with Unified Asian Communities and Equality Maine to implement Making Maine A Place Without Hate, a state-wide effort to improve response to hate crime, increase reporting, enhance victim services, and establish hate crime as a priority among law enforcement, justice systems, and within our communities and neighborhoods. Through this project partners will establish a Task Force Against Hate Crime that brings together Maine's diverse communities, district attorneys, civil rights specialists and detectives, members of the Maine Attorney General's office, and a wide variety of stakeholders. The partnership of the three organizations reflects primary communities in Maine that have been targeted over the last five years, and who also have histories of working effectively within systems that prosecute hate-fueled crimes and incidents.

Making Maine A State Without Hate builds on NEAAO's current work addressing hate crime through a Futures Without Violence Community Impact Grant. The BJA grant will enable NEAAO to partner with community-based organizations to continue building relationships among district attorneys, the Maine Attorney General’s office, and law enforcement. Task Force efforts will also support a major public information campaign comprised of PSAs, social media, municipal signage and widespread outreach to immigrant, LGBTQI+ and BIPOC communities to encourage reporting. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of hate crime reports increased from 19 to 83, with the bulk of crimes targeting people of color, Asian Americans, Muslims and LGBTQ+ individuals. Maine also contends with some very active white supremacy groups, including Patriot Front and NSC-13.

The project takes a three-prong approach to prevention and intervention: 1) Build relationships and understandings through a monthly Task Force Against Hate Crime; 2) Engage in culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach to targeted communities to increase reporting and build trust; and 3) Develop a strong and well-resourced victim service network that can respond quickly and also promote healing.

While Making Maine A State Without Hate involves three major partners, there are more than 60 organizations, police departments, and justice professionals who will be involved in growing the program over three years and ensuring success.

Date Created: September 27, 2023