BOSTON – Boston City Councilors Ed Flynn, Andrea Campbell, and Lydia Edwards will be having a City Council hearing to discuss how the City of Boston can be proactive in investigating hate crimes and preventing incidents of discrimination. The hearing will be chaired by Councilor Julia Mejia in the Committee of Civil Rights,  and will be held next Tuesday, March 30th at 1pm. This hearing aims to discuss what resources residents can access when they experience discrimination, and see if the city can utilize an agency like the Boston Human Rights Commission for preventing and investigating hate crimes and discrimination. To watch the livestream of the hearing, you can go to boston.gov/city-council-tv. To submit written testimony or request to testify at the hearing, please reach out to Christine O’Donnell at [email protected].

When someone experiences a racist or discriminatory incident, it can be difficult for them to find the avenue to report the incident or seek an investigation, and the victim of a hate crime or a racist incident might also be too fearful to come forward and report to authorities such as the police. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an uptick of racist incidents and hate crimes against AAPI residents, with the latest shooting at Atlanta reminding us just how violent this hate can be. The killing of George Floyd and other tragic events have also highlighted the need for serious discussions on systemic racism impacting the lives of Black Americans and communities of color.

In the city, we have different departments that interact with constituents who experienced discriminatory incidents, including the Human Rights Commission.  It’s important for the city to have a way for residents to report hate crime and discriminatory incidents, and have measures in place for the City to formally investigate and review these incidents, as well as providing resources to victims and anti-discrimination education to the public.

“Recent incidents have tragically illustrated again how hate and discrmination can turn into deadly violence, and it is imperative that our residents have a place that they can turn to and resources they can access when they experience a hate crime or acts of discrimination,” said Councilor Flynn. “I am advocating for a Director of Special Investigations within the City of Boston Human Rights Commission to work to ensure that our city has the mechanisms to fight hate and discrimination. I want to thank Councilors Campbell and Edwards for their partnership on this issue.”

“To ensure Boston is a safe and inclusive City for all residents, it’s essential the City of Boston take further action to address and prevent racism, discrimination, and hate crimes, including by having systems separate from policing for residents to report these incidents and have equitable access resources and justice,” said Councilor Campbell. “I am grateful to both Councilor Flynn and Councilor Edwards for partnering on this hearing to push for proactive solutions.”

“Boston’s diversity is what makes us great,” said Councilor Edwards. “I’m excited to have a conversation about how we can make sure that everyone feels welcome here and knows where to turn if they experience a hate crime or discrimination. I’m grateful for the partnership of Councilors Flynn and Campbell on this hearing.”

For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 or [email protected]. More information on the hearing can also be found at https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/14767086 .

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