Hate Behavior and Hate Crimes: What Motivates People to Hate? How Can We Prevent Hate Crimes in Our Schools and Communities?
A Two-Part Meeting: December 7, 1999 and February 1, 2000

"LORD WE PRAY FOR UNITY"

This simple yet profound sentiment was displayed on a roadside restaurant marquee in Jasper, Texas, the site of the 1998 racially motivated kidnapping and lynch-style killing of James Byrd, Jr., a black man. That crime and the sentiment have rung throughout this country in recent months as the nation has been subjected to a rash of hate inspired crimes.

A number of high profile cases: the kidnapping and murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student in Wyoming in 1998; the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in April of 1999; arson attacks against three Jewish synagogues in Sacramento in June of 1999; the murder of a prominent gay couple in Redding, California, in July of 1999; the August 1999 attack against a Jewish day care center in Los Angeles and the subsequent murder of a Filipino postal worker; and a "random" drive-by shooting spree against African Americans, Jews and Asians in Illinois and Indiana in the summer of 1999, are stunning examples of a serious hate problem in the United States.

As the media increases its coverage of such incidents (some say influences them), and the government seeks to implement new legislation in an attempt to curb such heinous acts, there is still much that can be done on the level of the local community. There is much that students like you can do.

This LegiSchool Town Hall Meeting intends to provide you with not only the information about why we, as a nation, are struggling with the issue of hate crimes, but also what you, as an individual and as part of a larger community, can do to combat the occurrence and spread of hate in all of its forms.