Oregon Department of Justice Launches You Belong. Campaign to Support Victims of Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes

April 22, 2024
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Today, the Oregon Department of Justice Civil Rights Unit (CRU) kicked off its “You Belong.” campaign, a culturally- and linguistically-inclusive, statewide, multimedia public outreach effort to increase the awareness of Oregon’s Bias Response Hotline. The campaign will deploy six public service announcements in three languages (English, Mandarin, and Vietnamese); radio ads; social media ads in 7 languages; billboards in Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, and Medford; and a social media influencer campaign.

In 2018, in response to spikes in hate crimes across Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum convened a task force on hate-motivated crimes and incidents. Guided by their insights and experiences, AG Rosenblum championed the passage of 2019’s Senate Bill 577. The bill passed, defining bias crimes and incidents in Oregon, and establishing resources to respond to the rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in our state.

SB 577 also established the Oregon Bias Response Hotline, the first of its kind in the nation. In 2020, Oregon DOJ’s Civil Rights Unit (CRU) launched the Hotline, a confidential, non-emergency line staffed with multilingual advocates trained to provide trauma-informed support and accessible in over 240 languages.

“Every Oregonian should feel like they belong here, but acts of bias and hatred rob people of that sense of belonging. To anyone who has experienced acts of hatred and bias, you are not alone. You belong.” said AG Rosenblum.

Data from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission’s public data dashboard underscores the alarming and escalating trend of bias-related crimes and incidents. The Bias Response Hotline has registered a 25% surge in reports from 2022 to 2023, and a staggering 229% increase since its inception in 2020.

With a focus on safety, support, and options for survivors, the Bias Response Hotline also collects data to inform policymakers, law enforcement and the community about the extent of bias incidents and hate crimes in Oregon. This data-driven approach fosters inclusive environments by prioritizing communities impacted by inequity and implementing measures that uphold the dignity and humanity of every individual.

“Bias and discrimination inflict enduring wounds on individuals and often disrupt the sense of safety and belonging within entire communities,” said Fay Stetz-Waters, DOJ Director of Civil Rights and Social Justice. “Reporting empowers us all to combat hate. Together, we can cultivate an Oregon culture where bias and discrimination have no place.”

The Civil Rights Unit encourages anyone who has experienced or witnessed discrimination, a bias incident, or hate crime to report to the statewide confidential hotline, especially those who fall under Oregon’s protected classes based on their race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Bias Response Hotline provides support and next step options for people targeted in hate crimes or bias incidents. Call or chat with an advocate at 1-844-924-BIAS (2427); all Relay calls accepted; advocates return all messages left after-hours; submit a web report any time at StandAgainstHate.Oregon.gov.

The Civil Rights Unit is grateful to work with the marketing firm Early PR and the translation/transcreation firm Pasa Language Solutions to develop the campaign.  Special thanks to the BIPOC Caucus of the Oregon Legislature for supporting funding for this campaign.

To read this press release in Spanish click here.