The Anti-Defamation League: September 1991

Activism, Outreach and Education

Q – What is the Anti-Defamation League?

A – Since its beginning in 1913, the Anti-Defamation League has grown to become one of America’s leading civil rights organizations. Over the past 3/4 of a century , ADL has consistently strived to protect and defend the civil and constitutional rights of all people. Foremost in our charge in the concept that the struggle against all forms of prejudice and bigotry benefits all of America’s many diverse communities.

Q – How does ADL accurately measure the level of prejudice and bigotry throughout the country?

A – Through ADL’s 28 field offices across the country, the league is able to compile accurate and credible research reports which measure the level and impact of bias-motivated crimes throughout the country. Furthermore, ADL, also monitors the status, activities and agenda of those organizations (i.e., Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups) that often work to intensify intergroup tensions by targeting different communities for complex socio-economic and political issues.

Q – What role does ADL play in legislation?

A – On the city, state and national levels, ADL has consistently lobbied for the passage of statutes which stiffen the penalties from crimes that are either partially, or fully, motivated by prejudice. It is our firm belief that when perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes—whether it be a vandalism of a Jewish synagogue, the burning of a cross on an African-American family’s lawn, or the random physical assault on a person because of their sexual orientation—are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, a strong message is sent to the would-be perpetrators of future crimes that law enforcement officials will not let these crimes go unnoticed.

Q – How does ADL work with law enforcement?

A – ADL works with peace officers on the city, county, state and federal levels to sensitize them to the special nature of bias-motivated crimes, the laws that exist to effectively respond to such crimes, and how law enforcement officers can work with ADL in the investigation and prosecution of those suspected of, and charged with, such heinous acts.

ADL has recently developed a peace officer training program that helps police officers learn how to recognize and respond to bias-motivated crimes. This program is presently being implemented in the San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento Police Departments in California, and has been used in many agencies in the Salt Lake area.

Q – How does ADL improve intergroup relations?

A – Throughout the country, ADL provides forums and programs through which different ethnic, religious, and racial groups can learn about one another and overcome the barriers that often separate us.

Q – What role does ADL play in the courts?

A – Over the years ADL has filed innumerable lawsuits aimed at protecting individual civil and constitutional rights, preserving the constitutional mandated separation of church and state, and insuring the right to personal and individual freedom.

Q – How does ADL spread its message of understanding and respect to our country’s youth?

A – While legislation, law enforcement and communication may stem the rise of bias-motivated crime, the most effective way to address prejudice at its core is through reasoned discourse and education. ADL is the largest distributor of human relations materials that address the topics of bigotry and prejudice.

Furthermore, throughout “A World of Difference” (AWOD) educational program ADL has trained thousands of educators how to teach about prejudice and bigotry and the dangers that these social ailments pose to our society. In fact, AWOD has proven successful that the program has been modified for the work environment and college campuses under the respective titles “A Workplace of Difference” and “A Campus of Difference.”

Q – What specific issues has ADL been involved in?

A – * ADL pressed for the timely redress for Japanese-American citizens wrongly interned during World War II.

*ADL has actively worked for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991—a bill designed to protect people from employment discrimination without requiring employers to enforce strict racial and ethnic quotas.

*This fall, ADL will go to the Supreme Court to ask the court to uphold the constitutionality of state laws which increase the penalties of crimes that are motivated in part or in whole by racial, ethnic, religious or other forms of prejudice.

*ADL vigorously called for an end to the troubling rise in anti-semitic and anti-Arab acts which stained the American landscape during the Persian Gulf War.

*ADL actively supported a measure within the California Legislature to include sexual orientation amongst the categories protected under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing legislation.

*ADL was co-litigant in a lawsuit brought against Tom Metzger (leader of the nationwide white supremacist group “white aryan resistance”) for his role in inciting the beating to death of an Ethiopian man in Portland, OR. The League’s victory in this lawsuit included a 12.5 million dollar judgement awarded to the family of Mulugeta Seraw. While no amount of money can replace this man’s life, the sentence sends a strong message to all bigots that their crimes will not go unpunished. Furthermore, the sentence effectively bankrupts “WAR” and their skinhead activities.

*ADL has been cooperating closely with Salt Lake City community leaders, law enforcement agencies, and educators in all efforts to combat the disturbing growth of a small, yet active, neo-Nazi skinhead group in the area.

Q – How can you help ADL?

A – *Report any incidents of bigoted vandalism, threats or assaults to your local law enforcement agency and the ADL.

* Continue to support ADL’s efforts to fight prejudice, intolerance, and their palpable manifestations, bias-motivated crimes. Our efforts depend upon the support of people like you.


For more from the SLUG Archives:

Concert Review: Peter Murphy and Nauvoo

Record Reviews: May 1991