President Announces Significant New Law Enforcement and Prevention Initiatives

"Hate crimes ... leave deep scars not only on the victims, but on our larger community. They weaken the sense that we are one people with common values and a common future. They tear us apart when we should be moving closer together. They are acts of violence against America itself...."

"As part of our preparation for the new century, it is time for us to mount an all-out assault on hate crimes, to punish them swiftly and severely, and to do more to prevent them from happening in the first place. We must begin with a deeper understanding of the problem itself."

President Clinton, Radio Address to the Nation, June 7, 1997


November 10, 1997

On November 10, 1997, the President convened the first-ever White House Conference on Hate Crimes, a day-long event held at The George Washington University. At the Conference, the President announced significant law enforcement and prevention initiatives to get tough on hate crimes. The Conference examined the positive actions that communities are taking and outline the steps we all can take to prevent hate crimes.

A hate crime is the embodiment of intolerance -- an act of violence against a person or property based on the victims race, color, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability. Every year, thousands of Americans are victims of hate crimes -- and it is suspected that many more go unreported. Teenagers and young adults account for a significant proportion of the country's hate crimes -- both as perpetrators and victims. Every time one of these crimes is committed it creates tension and fear, and tears at the fabric of community life.

The Conference is an important element of the President's Initiative on Race and of his vision for One America. Members of the President's Advisory Board on Race participated in the Conference at satellite locations.


The President, Vice President, Attorney General and Secretary of Education were joined by other members of the Cabinet, Members of Congress, selected state and local officials, and approximately 350 leaders from the law enforcement, civil rights, anti-violence, youth, education, and religious communities.

Hate crimes survivors also attended. Participants included representatives from all 50 states. Thousands more participated at over 50 satellite-linked events across the country.


The President hosted a breakfast for Conference participants at the White House and made an opening address at the Conference. After his remarks, the President chaired a panel discussion in which the Attorney General, the Secretary of Education, and several other distinguished Americans joined.

In the afternoon, members of the Cabinet and other senior Administration officials chaired a number of concurrent working sessions to examine various aspects of the hate crimes issue. Afterward, the Attorney General chaired a closing panel to discuss ideas and themes from the working sessions. Participants attended a closing reception at the United States Holocaust Museum.

The Conference was held at the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center at the George Washington University, 800 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC, and was by invitation only. The President's remarks began at approximately 11:30 a.m. The closing panel and remarks by the Attorney General commenced at approximately 4:15 p.m. The event was open press, except for the working sessions beginning at 2:30 p.m., which were closed press. Press inquires should be directed to (202) 456-7150.


President's Remarks at White House Conference on Hate Crimes
President's Closing Remarks at White House Conference on Hate Crimes
Clinton Administration Accomplishments
Hurtful Acts Hurt Kids

Contact the White House Conference on Hate Crimes at (202) 456-6350.

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