The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced three new initiatives to address and combat the surge of hate crimes and other bias-related incidents. 

The new initiatives come after a racially motivated shooting spree that killed 10 people at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood. The initiatives come one year after President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law which helped combat the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic. 

The includes provisions from the Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Act to boost reporting of such crimes and law enforcement training. 

The DOJ said it will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to issue new guidance aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes and hire a full-time language access coordinator. The DOJ will also allocate $10 million in grants to help communities confront hate crimes and increase reporting of these incidents to the FBI.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the initiatives on Friday and that hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear they inflict on entire communities. 

“No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate-fueled violence. The Justice Department will continue to use every resource at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them,” Garland wrote in a statement.  

The DOJ has seen a spike in hate crimes against communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who serves as Co-Chair of the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. 

“In many cases, individuals are still scared to leave their homes – not only because of worry that they may contract the virus but out of fear for their physical safety. This is unacceptable,” Becerra said. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to combatting hate crimes against all Americans.”

Garland said the department would "use evey legal took at out disposal" on Friday in addressing the attack, which injured three others. All but the two victims were Black. The suspect, an 18-year-old white man  Payton Gendron, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of first-degree murder.

“We commit to using every resource of the Department of Justice to prevent these kinds of acts of hate, to hold accountable those who commit them, and to support the communities that are damaged and terrorized by them,” Garland said. 

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