Fox 43: Newly formed Civil Rights Division aims to combat hate in Pennsylvania

The Civil Rights Division is a part of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and aims to combat hate and fight against racism.

Author: Kayleigh Johnson

Pennsylvania officials today announced the creation of a Civil Right Division that aims to combat hate and fight against racism

The newly formed group is a part of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and will focus on investigating civil tensions, conflicts, and incidents; enforcing anti-discrimination laws; and promoting anti-racism through education and outreach.

“In recent years, we have witnessed a disturbing surge in hate crimes and acts of discrimination across the nation and in our commonwealth,” said PHRC executive director, Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW. “This rise in hate and intolerance threatens the fabric of our diverse society and the principles of equality and justice that we hold dear. We must take a stand against hate, intolerance, and discrimination in all its forms. We must work tirelessly to promote a culture of acceptance, respect, and equality. A dedicated Civil Rights Division within the PHRC will play a crucial role in this fight.”

The Civil Rights Division will do public outreach and work closely with Lassiter and schools, businesses, community organizations and other stakeholders to foster a culture of acceptance and respect for all Pennsylvanians.

“I applaud the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for being proactive in creating this Civil Rights Division,” U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-3,) said. “This is a much-needed step – in recent years, Pennsylvanians have been experiencing an increase in white nationalism and hate crimes and incidents. As I and other members of Congress work at the federal level to address these issues, this action at the state level is vital.”

Officials say they are conducting interviews now to fill positions within the new division.

“The creation of a permanent civil rights division is a critical step in the fight to root out hate and discrimination in our communities, our Commonwealth, and our Nation,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “We have an obligation to combat bigotry and safeguard civil rights for every Pennsylvanian and American, for the wellbeing of our neighbors today and our children tomorrow.”