| Program: || Unity in the Community, Manassas, VA |
| Contact(s): || [Redacted for personal privacy, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6)] |
| Purpose: || To cultivate cross-cultural understandings and educate the public about the laws and consequences of hate crimes |
Unity in the Community was created in 1996 in response to a spate of racist and anti-Semitic incidents, including circulation of Ku Klux Klan fliers, the burning of a Korean business, and the stalking conviction of a neo-Nazi against his black landlady. It was initially designed to call public attention to these problems, but the organization later felt the need to work with religious and community groups to address racial and religious intolerance.
Unity in the Community consists of more than 250 individuals, families, religious leaders, and community groups committed to community action. It organizes several events, which include staging annual educational forums and providing speakers for community events. In addition to planning talks with police and/or lawyers to find solutions, the project also actively pursues appropriate legislative changes. Working with community agencies allows the project to educate the public about the roles they can play in dealing with these types of problems. The project works with the school system to increase awareness and understanding of the contributions of all racial, ethnic, and religious groups.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
The project has served as a foundation for a multitude of concrete outcomes, and its efforts have increased community response to hate crimes and activities. Unity in the Community obtained anti-hate resolutions from local governments as well as a zero tolerance policy from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. It also achieved passage of hate crime legislation in Virginia. The county police developed a brochure on hate crimes to educate the public. They also implemented a worship watch program where the sheriff and his deputies knocked on every door in the area targeted in an attempt to find perpetrators who had circulated KKK fliers. Paralleling the project's goal of educating people about anti-bias skills, cultural diversity, and basic human rights, the Prince William County schools are conducting educational institutes for teachers on different races and religions.