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NYS: $51 million to improve safety & security of organizations at risk of hate crimes


Wed, Jul 12th 2023 09:15 am

Funding for over 1,000 projects available through Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant

√ For first time, nonprofit, community-based organizations could apply for grants to enhance cybersecurity

√ Governor also signs legislation to strengthen hate crime investigation and reporting requirements on college campuses

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced more than $51 million in grants to strengthen safety and security measures at nonprofit, community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. This funding is the largest amount ever available through the state's Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grants and, for the first time, could be used to enhance an organization's cybersecurity. In addition to announcing the record level of funding, Hochul signed legislation (S.2060-A/A.3694-A) to strengthen investigation and reporting requirements for hate crimes incidents occurring on college campuses.

"Hate has absolutely no place in our state, and we will continue to do whatever it takes to make sure every New Yorker is safe from baseless violence that stems from prejudice," Hochul said. "This is a historic investment in the communities that need our help the most and, with these funds, New York's most at-risk organizations will be able to invest in the security measures they need to stay safe. In the face of disgusting vitriol and violence, I want to be clear: We are not afraid. If you attack one of us, you attack us all – and no one wins a fight against New Yorkers."

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado said "New York has always served as a safe haven for folks from all walks of life, and today's announcement further demonstrates our steadfast commitment in ensuring our state remains one of tolerance and acceptance. Our administration will always uphold the values that define us as New Yorkers, and as chair of the Hate and Bias Prevention Unit, I am especially proud of this critical investment."

Hochul announced the grants and signed the legislation at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, where she was joined by elected officials, community leaders and advocates.

A press release stated, “Police departments and sheriffs' offices reported 947 hate crimes to the state in 2022, the most reported in the past five years, and a 20% increase as compared to 2021. Hate crime data reported by police agencies to the state is available online.”

Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which administers the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program, has awarded funding to 497 organizations statewide for 1,081 projects totaling $51,680,910, with $8,899,091 going toward 187 cybersecurity projects. Successful grant applicants are being notified of their awards.

Hochul announced the availability of this funding last fall. The fiscal year 2024 enacted budget provides an additional $25 million for Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grants. The next round of grant funding is expected to be made available through a request for applications in December.

Created in 2017, the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant program provides funding to strengthen security measures and prevent hate crimes against nonprofit community and civic centers, cultural museums, day care centers, and other nonprofit organizations that may be vulnerable because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. This funding can be used to support exterior or interior security improvements, including but not limited to lighting, locks, alarms, panic buttons, fencing, barriers, access controls, shatter-resistant glass and blast-resistant film, public address systems, and for the first time, measures to strengthen cybersecurity. Funds can also cover costs associated with security training.

In December 2022, the governor launched a statewide Hate and Bias Prevention Unit within the New York State Division of Human Rights. The unit is charged with quickly mobilizing to support communities in which a hate and bias incident has occurred, and organizing anti-bias councils in each region of the state. The councils, which are chaired by Delgado, “provide a place for community members to share concerns, organize educational programming, host hate crime prevention and community healing events, conduct trainings in conflict resolution, and facilitate the filing of complaints with the division and other relevant agencies,” the press release noted. “In May 2023, Gov. Hochul convened the state's inaugural Unity Summit, bringing together 500 representatives from community organizations, law enforcement and faith groups for panel discussions and conversations about ways to work together to prevent hate.”

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "We are proud to be able to ensure that New Yorkers and visitors alike, regardless of their beliefs, ideals, or way of life, can live free from hate. DCJS is committed to supporting community-based organizations that know their neighborhoods best. Through this funding, these organizations will be better prepared and protected to provide their services safely and effectively. Thank you, Gov. Hochul, for your standing against hate crimes and for demonstrating time and time again that hate has no place in the Empire State."

New York State Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria L. Imperial said, "I applaud Gov. Hochul and this administration for these important measures. It is vital that community organizations central to our civic life be empowered to combat hate and bias, and that our efforts to prevent these incidents be informed by accurate data. The Division of Human Rights is proud to carry out this charge on behalf of all New Yorkers."

Hate Crime Reporting on College Campuses

Legislation S.2060-A/A.3694-A amends the education law to require a college's advisory committee on campus security to review current policies and procedures for educating the campus community about bias-related and hate crimes, reporting hate crimes, and assisting victims during hate crime investigations. This legislation also updates the procedure for disseminating information on campus crime statistics, and specifically requires the reporting and posting of hate crime offenses. It requires this information to be made available on the college's website, no longer simply providing students information about how to access it within the campus catalog, student handbook and viewbook. Now, colleges will also be required to adopt a plan providing for the investigation of hate crimes on campus and inform incoming students about hate crime prevention measures.

The press release added, “This legislation will require colleges that receive state funding to modernize and enhance their disclosure of hate crimes that occur on campus. To ensure students remain safe on college campuses in New York, the bill also creates a clear obligation on the part of colleges to investigate potential hates crimes and report them to law enforcement. This bill would also strengthen existing reporting and information disclosure laws pertaining to identifying and addressing bias crimes on college campuses.”

SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. said, "Hate and intolerance have no place in New York, and as rates of hate crimes continue to rise across our country – often based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability – we are pleased to see Gov. Hochul use all possible means to safeguard New Yorkers. SUNY is committed to ensuring the security and sense of belonging of all members of the campus community, and we will continue to build on our efforts to inform, support and protect SUNY's students, faculty and staff."

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "CUNY took steps earlier this year to make it easier for all members of our campus communities to report acts of discrimination, bigotry and hate, and for administrators to identify trends that will inform new policies, programming and preventative measures. This important action by Gov. Hochul and our state legislative leaders will provide another antidote to counter the uptick in antisemitism and other forms of hate that we are seeing across our city, state and nation, and we look forward to incorporating its requirements into our policies."

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky said, "This new law will help identify and quantify hate on college campuses and allow us to better address the issue. By clearly identifying how these incidents will be reported and tracked, students will now have access to resources for the campuses they call home. College is an opportunity for young people to learn about other cultures and customs. We must counter hate with education and teach a new generation that we accomplish much more together than we do apart."

Assembly member Daniel Rosenthal said, "Every student has the right to feel safe and protected on their college campus. We cannot allow educational institutions to become asylums of antisemitism, bigotry and hostility. This bill will allow the public to realize if any individual institution has a particular problem – and whether its administration is taking proper steps to address it. I am deeply appreciative to Gov. Hochul for signing this bill into law."

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multifunction criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state's DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state's sex offender registry. Follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, the New York State Office of Victim Services funds more than 200 programs across the state that provide services, support and assistance to victims of hate crimes and other crimes. The agency also can provide eligible individuals with financial assistance for expenses resulting from being the victim of hate or other crimes. Visit www.ovs.ny.gov/connect to locate a program.

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