Hate crime conference coming to UMKC

School bullying, white nationalism and more will be discussed this month as a new U.S. Justice Department task force on hate crimes holds a conference at UMKC.

The free Jan. 13 conference is open to the public and will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UMKC student union.

Officials announced the new task force in a press release last week. The justice department task force also involves the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City, the FBI and police in Kansas City and various community groups.

“The new hate crimes task force will build bridges and establish partnerships in the community,” said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney in Kansas City. “Hate must be confronted on all fronts, at all levels, by all means and by everyone.”

The goal is to lower the number of hate crimes in the region, said Michael Kaste, of the FBI in Kansas City.

“While the number of hate crimes reported has remained relatively consistent over the past few years, any number of hate crimes is too many,” he said.

Nationwide last year, about 5,800 hate crimes were reported, motivated by things like bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin or physical or mental disability.

The UMKC conference will feature nationally known authors and speakers, like SuEllen Fried to discuss school bullying and Leonard Zeskind to speak on white nationalism. It will also include information on federal and state hate crime laws and statistics and a community panel on preventing hate crimes.

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