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United States Attorney’s Office and The Asian American Foundation Host Oakland Roundtable Discussion Addressing Fighting Hate 

Oakland forum features expansion of participants to include community leaders from several organizations

OAKLAND- On August 17, 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California (USAO), in conjunction with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), hosted a roundtable to discuss how federal law enforcement may support local communities in addressing hate crimes and similar incidents. The roundtable was the third in a series held in furtherance of the Department of Justice’s nationwide United Against Hate initiative, and the first to be held in Oakland.

The roundtable took place at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and was supported by the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey attended the forum along with several attorneys from the USAO. Also in attendance were numerous representatives from various government agencies—including supervisory agents from the FBI, representatives of the Oakland District Attorney’s Office and the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, and Oakland City Council District 7 Councilmember Treva Reid—and leaders from approximately thirty community-based organizations, including Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, and SALT SF.

Prior to the community discussion, U.S. Attorney Ramsey gave introductory remarks. Benjamin Kingsley, Chief of the Oakland Branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, gave an overview of federal hate crimes enforcement. Sai Mohan, Deputy Chief of the Civil Division’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Section, then gave an overview of civil remedies for federal civil rights violations.

Several community leaders said that Oakland was in crisis and expressed that hate crime, in particular, caused enduring pain. Leaders spoke about crime including violent attacks on AAPI elders, the lack of material support for Samoan and Tongan communities, and increased threats against houses of worship. Community leaders stated that solidarity between communities against hate crime was critical. They also emphasized that cooperation between government agencies and community-based organization, and more resources, were necessary to devise and implement effective solutions that provide meaningful consequences for offenders, and tackle roots causes of crime. Community leaders welcomed the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s participation in addressing these difficult problems and thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for bringing community groups together to discuss these issues.

U.S. Attorney Ramsey expressed the importance of the dialogue and his hope for the future. “I am looking forward to continuing this dialog and finding ways to prevent—and fight against—crimes that originate in hate,” said U.S. Attorney Ramsey. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance to my office of bringing the entire community together to address this issue; only with all of us at the table will we find the collective strength and wisdom to find the best solutions.”

If you believe yourself to be a victim or witness of a federal hate crime, please report it at 1-800-CALL-FBI or fbi.gov. To report a civil rights violation, please visit civilrights.justice.gov.

Source : Justice