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CCSAO Against Hate: Education & Outreach Program

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, $1,200,000)

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) proposes to implement the CCSAO Against Hate: Education & Outreach Program (Program) in Cook County, Illinois. The purpose of the Program is twofold: 1) Increase public awareness, identification, and reporting of hate crimes and 2) Increase the CCSAO’s ability to respond to hate crimes in a timely and educated matter, thus bringing justice for hate crime victims and the larger community.

Project activities include: 1) Hire one part-time Hate Crime Specialist to be assigned to the Community Engagement Unit; 2) Provide training and onboarding for Specialist; 3) Create an Action Plan that outlines how the project will accomplish goals and objectives; 4) Submit the Action Plan to BJA; 5) Meet with established community organizations in targeted communities; 6) Reestablish a Hate Crime Council and host quarterly Council meetings; 7) Create training modules for public awareness education series for community members/groups; 8) Provide education to community members and groups on hate crime; 9) Update/create policies/procedures to address hate crime, based on Council meetings and feedback received; 10) Inform and train relevant CCSAO staff on changes; 11) Establish monthly meetings with trusted community partners across the service area; 12) Leverage the new and improved relationships to increase hate incident reporting numbers; 13) Create bias/hate crime and incident training to help staff recognize the signs of bias and hate; 14) Train staff; 15) Assess the indicators of bias motivation that law enforcement and prosecutors use for flagging hate incidents and crimes; 16) Review the attributes of cases filed and prosecuted as hate-motivated and compare with incidents with bias indicators that were not charged; 17) Explore the internal and external factors that enable hate crime detection, charging, and prosecution; 18) Identify challenges and opportunities for reform; 19) Determine and communicate new policies/procedures to CCSAO staff and all relevant criminal justice and community partners; 20) Document activities and lessons learned from Project; and 21) Compile and submit quarterly and biannual fiscal and programmatic reports and final report.

The intended beneficiaries of the Program are all residents of Cook County, as hate crime incidents affect victims and their families, defendants, and the larger community. While the current Community Engagement Unit within the CCSAO has relationships with many community organizations and individuals that will be crucial to the success of this program, no formal partnerships are included in the proposed program narrative and budget.

Date Created: September 28, 2023