Florida Hate Crimes Awareness Summit Sept. 23

TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2009) – According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, every hour of the day a hate crime is committed somewhere in the United States and hate crimes happen every day to at least eight blacks, three whites, three gays, three Jews and one Latino.  Every week a cross is burned.  With the participation of leading authorities on the national, state and local level, as well as hate crime victims, the University of South Florida is presenting the Florida Hate Crimes Awareness Summit Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to address hate crimes with an emphasis on those in Florida.


This day-long invitation-only event will examine issues associated with hate crimes in an effort to evoke service on the part of faculty, students and the university-area community to help stem this problem.  It is sponsored by the USF College of Education David C. Anchin Center, the USF Diversity & Equal Opportunity Office, the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the USF Student Government.


USF President Judy Genshaft will introduce the keynote speakers, one of whom will be a representative from the U. S. Attorney General’s office (to be announced).  Discussions and panels will examine “The Anatomy of a Hate Crime,” “The Reality of Hate,” and “The Victim’s Perspective.”  Following a call to service, break-out sessions will focus on race, homelessness, GLBT issues, immigration and religion followed by reports on their conclusions. 


“As the Commission celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are honored to be part of this important event, which will raise awareness on the atrocities of hate crimes,” said Donna Elam, chair of the Florida Commission on Human Relations and associate director for program development and external affairs for the USF College of Education David C. Anchin Center.  “We hope to empower young people and members of the community to come together to examine issues and provide service.”


Confirmed participants include:

•  William Daniels, community resource specialist, U. S. Attorney’s

    Office, Middle District of Florida

•  Thomas Battles, regional director, U. S. Department of Justice

•  Danille Carroll, director for civil rights, Florida Office of the Attorney


•  Christopher Davis, FBI assistant special agent in charge

•  Mark Potok, staff director of the Intelligence Project, Southern

   Poverty Law Center

•  Rabbi Ed Rosenthal, executive director of Hillel Jewish Student

    Center of Tampa Bay and USF campus rabbi

•  Imam Mohammad Sultan, Islamic Society of Tampa Bay

•  Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality for Florida


USF faculty participants include Colleen Kennedy, dean, USF College of Education, Bruce A. Jones, associate dean, USF College of Education and director of the David C. Anchin Center, H. Roy Kaplan, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies, and Mozella Mitchell, chair, USF Department of Religious Studies.


“I believe that the USF system is committed to fully embracing the ethos of diversity and inclusion,” said Ted Williams, associate vice president for diversity and equal opportunity for the USF system.  “A portion of this commitment involves participation in activities associated with the elimination of biases and stereotypes that are often the genesis of hate crimes.  By enhancing an understanding of – as well as a zealous acceptance and appreciation of – our differences, we can sow the seeds of existent commonalities and begin to understand and accept the futility of hatred.”


The University of South Florida System is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The system offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. It has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.