Concerned by reports of the steady rise in incidents of hate and bias in Houston, especially incidents against African-American, Jewish, Muslim and LGBTQ communities, a group of over 30 community stakeholders came together in early 2017 to develop a coordinated community-wide plan to reduce incidents of bias and hate.
Over the past two years, the group organized itself as the Houston Coalition Against Hate (HCAH) and has worked toward strengthening connections between organizations working in this space, facilitating the exchange of information, skills and experience, and establishing partnerships with law enforcement agencies and other institutions, so that Houston can improve its systems to effectively prevent and reduce incidents of hate.
Key activities of HCAH in 2017 included: mapping of resources that communities access to address incidents of hate and bias; training to develop a common understanding of bias, hate, and intersectionality of issues; meeting with Police Chief Art Acevedo to discuss law enforcement’s response to incidents of hate; and collaboration with the Department of Justice (DOJ), local law enforcement, and community leaders, about incidents of hate and bias in the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities, including a meeting with DOJ officials, and a community forum at the Arab American Cultural Center.
Houston Coalition Against Hate (HCAH) is a network of community-based organizations, institutions, and leaders who come together to reduce hate and encourage belonging.
To be a successful model for the prevention of hate, bias, violence, and discrimination.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
We are Houston-based organizations, institutions, and leaders committed to addressing all incidents of hate, bias, discrimination, and violence on the basis of a person or group’s religion, race/ethnicity, gender, gender identity/expression, abilities, age, sexual orientation, national origin, creed, immigration status, or genetic information. HCAH does this through education, research, relationship building, and prevention initiatives, as well as partnering with organizations to host events that celebrate the diversity that makes Houston strong.
- Prevent and respond to incidents of hate and bias through the arts, policy and community engagement.
- Conduct and support research to understand, address, and reduce hate and bias incidents.
- Foster relationships between law enforcement and member organizations to better serve their respective communities.
- Create opportunities for collaboration amongst coalition members to increase capacity and the cohesion of community initiatives by serving as
a convening body for local grassroots and national organizations.
- Work collectively to develop best practices, including but not limited to uniform systems of response to hate and bias incidents.