(BLOOMINGTON) - The City of Bloomington Human Rights Commission (BHRC), which is responsible for gathering data and issuing reports on local hate incidents, has released its latest report. This report includes 11 reported incidents from July 2011 through June 2012.
Barbara McKinney, Director of the BHRC, emphasized that the number of incidents collected each year reflects only those that were reported, which may not be a comprehensive count. Still, she said the fact that the number is lower than in the two previous annual reports (18 and 26, respectively) is encouraging.
"The report is the best gauge of hate incidents we have, but it is never possible to determine a completely accurate number," said McKinney. "We use the report to get a general sense of what is happening in the community with respect to these types of activities."
As is always the case, the hate incidents described in the report take a variety of forms, including verbal harassment, threats of physical harm, actual physical harm and vandalism. McKinney said that while incidents vary in degree of severity, in each case the victim was concerned enough to reach out for help.
The report also addresses the apparent motivations behind each report. Seven of the incidents were apparently motivated by racial bias, two by religious bias, one by bias against gays and lesbians and one by racial and/or sexual bias.
The BHRC receives its reports from a variety of sources, including the City of Bloomington Police Department, news articles and individuals. Anyone who is the victim of a hate incident is encouraged to report it to the police by calling 911 or to the BHRC by calling 349.3429 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The BHRC accepts anonymous reports.
Hard copies of the report are available for the public upon request; online copies are at www.bloomington.in.gov/bloomington-human-rights-commission.
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