In the past year, American Jews have experienced an escalating surge of anti-Semitism, from online harassment of journalists to bomb threats at schools and community centers to desecration of cemeteries. This, sadly, fits into a broader picture of increasing reports of hate crimes against Muslims, immigrants and other minorities.
With all the attention paid to this unfortunate trend, however, no one really knows how many hate crimes and bias incidents take place every year in America. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting contains the closest approximation we have of a national database, but it is slow to respond: The latest hate crime information, for example, dates back to 2015. The Southern Poverty Law Center is building its own collection of hate incidents, but it depends on media sources and the data is not always verified.
The Anti-Defamation League publishes invaluable reports on specific aspects of hate-inspired violence, but they don’t gives us a comprehensive look at a complex problem.
This is why the Forward is honored to join a coalition of media partners, civil rights organizations, journalism schools and technology companies to work on Documenting Hate, a national initiative spearheaded by ProPublica, an award-winning independent not-for-profit newsroom that produces investigative reporting in the public interest.
The goal of Documenting Hate is to compile the most comprehensive and verified national database of hate crimes, harassment and intimidation, and make it a repository of information for journalists so that we can produce deeply reported and trustworthy stories.
You have an important role to play in this endeavor. If you have experienced or witnessed a hate crime or incident of bias, please fill out the form below. Your information will be treated with care and in confidence, and will not be shared with anyone outside this project. By helping us report this story, you will contribute to a broader and more accurate understanding of the social climate in American today.
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, is writer-at-large at the Forward and the 2019 Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan University. For more than a decade, she was editor-in-chief of the Forward, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward’s digital readership grew significantly, and won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.