Miami Hosts Hate Crime Summit

Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 2:49pm

SPLC says gays and lesbians are most victimized group.

Hate crimes and hate speech were the topics of discussion at Miami Dade County Hall Wednesday.

For Enbar Cohen, hate speech about her sexual preference from five years ago still haunts her.

Somebody plastered her high school with pamphlets announcing she's gay.

It impacted her greatly.

"I'm very cautious. I'm very closed off," she now says. "I really watch who I trust and what I say."

Who's doing the hating?

FBI statistics from 2009 show 62-percent of the hate crime offenders were white - about 18-percent black and the remaining seven percent were groups of people of various races.

Whose the most victimized?

"Gays and lesbians are victimized ar rates that far exceed other people and at the bottom of that continuum of victimized groups in fact are whites," says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

At the summit panelists talked about preventing and responding to hate crimes.

Education was a hot topic too, for both children and adults.

"We can educate the youth in our schools, we can educate our community by having community forums, we can hold our politicians, our judges, our public officials more accountable for what they say," Cohen says.

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