Community Bias Response Toolkit

We all have a role to play in ensuring our communities are safe, inclusive spaces where everyone is celebrated for who they are, and where everyone feels a sense of belonging. When hate or bias occurs in your community, how you respond is critical. If you were victimized, do you know where you can report? Or how to interact with the police?  If you were a witness, do you know how to safely intervene? Or what language to use in speaking with the victim? What about online safety?  Do you know how to talk to kids about hate and bias?

Our Community Bias Response Toolkit provides you with information about the follow questions:

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What is the difference between a hate/bias crime and a bias incident?

What is the difference between hate speech and free speech?

I have experienced hate or bias, but I do not want to report to the police. What can I do?

I have experienced hate or bias and I want to report to the police. What can I do?

I have been the victim of a hate/bias crime. What are my rights?

If I am the witness to hate or bias, how do I respond or safely intervene?

I’ve been contacted by the media. What are my options?

What are some things I should consider in terms of my safety?

I want to play an active role in making my community safer and better for everyone. What can I do now?

Are there any resources for running safe public meetings to prevent, avoid, or respond to zoom bombings?

Do you have any resource suggestions related to schools and young people?

Do you know any resources to help people out of a life of hate?

What should I know about service animals and emotional support animals?

  • Disability Rights Oregon has a compiled great service animal resource page » including their Service and Assistance Animals in Oregon publication »
  • The City of Portland also has a great Service Animals resource page » including the 2 questions businesses are allowed to ask of anyone bringing in an animal they say is a service animal:
    • 1. Is your dog required because of a disability?
    • 2. What work or task is it trained to perform?
    • Questions about someone’s disability, asking the dog to demonstrate the task, or requests for “certification” or other kinds of documentation are not allowed.

What are the Oregon bias crime and federal hate crime laws?

  • ORS 147.380 » defines a Bias Incident under Oregon law.
  • ORS 166.155 » defines misdemeanor Bias Crime in the Second Degree under Oregon law.
  • ORS 166.165 » defines felony Bias Crime in the First Degree under Oregon law.
  • ORS 163.191 » defines misdemeanor Intimidation by Display of a Noose under Oregon law.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 245 » covers violent interference with federally-protected rights
  • 18 U.S.C. § 249 », aka the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 and the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act of 2022, covers bias-motivated violence against a person (and attempts with a weapon)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 247 » covers damage to religious property
  • 42 U.S.C. § 3631 », the federal Fair Housing Act, covers violent interference with access to housing
  • 18 U.S.C. § 875 » and 18 U.S.C. § 876 » covers threats via internet, text or mail; bias motivation is not required but may be a sentencing enhancement

You can always contact Oregon’s statewide Bias Response Hotline to talk about your options. We welcome your call or online report.

Disclaimer: The links and information provided in this toolkit are for information only, are not exhaustive, and do not constitute legal advice. For information about your rights and legal options, consult an attorney.  Not all content reflects the views of the Oregon Department of Justice.  Resources and trainings are not vetted or otherwise endorsed by ODOJ.

Request Bias Response Training for your Community

The Oregon DOJ Civil Rights Unit provides training for community groups on bias response (hate/bias crimes, bias incidents, supporting victims, and more). Please sign up below if you are interested.

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