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Help Us Investigate: Ask a Member of Congress About Hate Crimes

We’re asking newsrooms to help us survey federal legislators to find out what they think should be done about the increase in hate crimes and white supremacist violence.

The U.S. Capitol building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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As part of our Documenting Hate project, we’ve been collaborating with newsrooms around the country to report on hate crimes, bias incidents and white supremacist violence. More than 170 newsrooms joined the effort since we launched. The coalition has reported on a neo-Nazi group tied to several homicides, hate crime prosecutions, racist harassment in schools and hate incidents targeting Latinos, among many other stories of bias and brutality.

Our database of tips submitted by readers of their own experiences with hate crimes and bias violence are clear evidence that this is a national problem.

We want to know what members of Congress really think about this issue beyond offering thoughts and prayers, and whether they plan to do anything about it. So today we’re launching a collaborative reporting initiative to get answers — and we need you.

We need local reporters to contact their members of Congress to ask two short questions and to report back to us on the answers. We’ll then gather and share the results.

There are 535 legislators to contact; that’s why this is a team effort.

What to Ask

Ask your representative and/or senators:

  1. Are hate crimes a problem in [your state]?
  2. Should Congress do something about hate crimes and white supremacist violence in [your state]? If so, what specifically?

Bonus question: You can also ask your representative about a specific statement they made or a bill they sponsored related to hate crimes or white supremacy. You can use our Represent database to search for bills and statements using the legislator’s name and a keyword, such as hate crime, anti-Semitism or white supremacist.

Who Can Participate

Reporters in U.S. newsrooms in all 50 states. In addition to sharing the responses with us, you’re of course free to incorporate legislators’ responses into your own stories. In fact, if you do, be sure to send us links!

How to Submit

Please provide proof of the interview: either copies of the email, an audio or video recording, or a published story that contains the comments. Fill out this form after you interview your legislator. We’ll verify it and then share the results.

Please note that we won’t publish the audio or video files you send us — we’d just like those for verification purposes. We’ll publish the text of the legislator’s quotes and credit you accordingly.

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