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Great Falls library hosts 'United Against Hate' forum

"United Against Hate" panel discussion
Posted at 2:02 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-21 16:02:30-05

GREAT FALLS — A "United Against Hate" panel discussion was held at the Great Falls Public Library on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Among the speakers was Jesse Laslovich, the US Attorney for the District of Montana. Joining Laslovich were local and federal partners and representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Great Falls County Attorney Office, and the Great Falls Police Department.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that United Against Hate is an initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Justice focused on improving the prevention of hate crimes and hate incidents by building relationships at the local level. Through this initiative, the Justice Department seeks to create and strengthen partnerships among law enforcement, community leaders and residents.

“The United States Department of Justice knows we have an obligation, both legally and morally, to hold individuals accountable for crimes driven by all forms of hatred. Indeed, we are united against hate and this essential and sobering work requires all of us pulling in the same direction. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our federal and local partners to combat hate crimes in Montana,” said Laslovich.

“The latest FBI statistics show that hate-fueled violence is on the rise,” said Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha of the Salt Lake City FBI. “It's imperative we take a collective approach to address this issue head on. We hope this event spurred conversations, strengthened relationships, and empowered the community with the knowledge and tools to combat hate crimes together.”

The meeting with the Great Falls community is one in a series of meetings the U.S. Attorney’s Office is holding throughout Montana and provided an opportunity for community members to have a better understanding of hate crimes and hate incidents, how to report them to law enforcement and to learn about available resources. Approximately 60 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Great Falls Public Library.

Speakers at the event included U.S. Attorney Laslovich and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon, from the Missoula Division Office. In addition, the event featured a Hate Crimes Panel Discussion and question and comment session that included U.S. Attorney Laslovich; FBI Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha, from the Salt Lake City Field Office; Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki; and Great Falls Police Department Captain Rob Moccasin.