If you’re…the victim of a hate crime or you witness a hate crime
Take action by…calling the police right away
Because…This allows officers to collect witness statements and preserve any evidence that might help build a case, says Sergeant Anthony Parisi of the Denver Police Department’s hate crimes investigative unit. “But we understand that it might take people time to process things.” That’s what the bias-motivated crimes hotline in Denver (720-913-6458) is for. The hotline allows those who might not feel comfortable dealing directly with the police to still report a crime without having to step inside a police station. Witnesses and victims can also report bias-motivated incidents to advocacy organizations that will help direct them to resources.

If someone you know is…the victim of a hate crime
Take action by… helping clean up vandalism or assisting with repairs to damaged property
Because…“The scariest thing about these crimes besides the violence is that they are isolating,” says Brenna Zortman, a deputy district attorney in Denver who specializes in bias-motivated crimes. So check on your neighbors. “Even if it’s not a community you’re very familiar with, let them know you support them in private and in public.” That can also mean confronting hateful speech online, says state Representative Leslie Herod. “You don’t have to continue to engage, but call it out for what it is, because just hearing someone speak up can make a world of difference.”

Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region

If you want…to counter hate in the classroom
Take action by…Bringing the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s mock trial program to your school
Because…Education breeds empathy. Since 1993, this group has presented mock trials, with follow-up conversations about hate crimes, diversity, and acceptance, in area schools. The free presentation is offered to schools, universities, and community organizations with students in grades seven and higher. You can also consider applying to be one of the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate schools. The program allows students, teachers, and administrators who have signed the organization’s Resolution of Respect to participate in antibullying and peer training programs and assists them in organizing schoolwide activities.

Support Network

In 2017, 18 advocacy groups, mostly from Colorado, formed Mountain States Against Hate. The consortium meets monthly to discuss how to get resources to those in need. Individually, the groups provide support for victims—and they’re always looking for volunteers.

Kasey Cordell
Kasey Cordell
Kasey Cordell is the former Editorial Projects Director for 5280.