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    Michigan ranks fourth highest in the nation for hate crimes by the FBI and Michigan Department of Civil Right's. The number of organized hate groups in the state has climbed since 2009. The Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes (MIAAHC) is a joint enterprise with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the United States Attorney Offices from the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan. This is a statewide coalition of 70 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, civil rights organizations, community-based groups, educators and anti-violence advocates. The MIAAHC works to ensure a consistent and effective response to hate crimes and other related incidents of tension and violence in communities in Michigan. It also works to provide information and resources that assist local hate crime coordinating units to engage specific community partners in educational and prevention based initiatives.

    As alliances form hate crimes in Michigan-and Michigan's legislative approach to prevention- is highlighted. The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act criminalizes actions against homosexuals on the same level as race and religion. Three ministers and Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan have become key players in recent hate crime regulation. The ministers filed suit against the law claiming the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act violated their First Amendment rights but U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington- A federal judge in Michigan- dismissed the case.The judge said the defendants had no merit to bring the lawsuit; the men had not yet been accused of violating the law by publicly expressing their opposition to homosexual behavior as a sin. More than a generalized grievance is necessary to make changes in Michigan law.

    As hate crimes continue to be a hot and poignant issue in Michigan the reality of hate crimes is highlighted. "We probably can never eliminate hate, we can't ever eliminate crime but we can educate the public to recognize it," said Don Davis, Western Michigan U.S. Attorneys Office.


    SOURCES
    http://www.michigan.gov/mdcr/0,1607,7-138-47780---,00.html
    http://www.afamichigan.org/2010/09/15/one-news-now-judge-denies-challenge-to-hate-crimes-act/
    http://www.wlns.com/Global/story.asp?S=13166175

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Jocelyn Cutean

    Jocelyn Cutean serves as Morality and Family policy correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. She is a first-year student at Michigan State, majoring in Theatre and English. Jocelyn has experience working on the executive board of the Waterford Chapter Coalition for Youth. She has also piloted a grant funded city wide public service announcement entitled, "It Just Wasn't Worth It" which exposes the repercussions of driving while intoxicated. Jocelyn enjoys art of all forms, from writing to performance.