Bystander intervention trainings combat hate crimes against Muslims and Asian Americans

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Several nonprofit organizations in Chicago are collaborating to fight back against hate crimes and discrimination, providing free bystander intervention trainings for the public. The organizations leading the effort are focusing specifically on protecting Muslims and Asian Americans, who have consistently been the target of hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Blaming Asians during a pandemic is actually not a new phenomenon," said Catherine Shieh, the anti-hate training coordinator for Chicago's chapter of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

To sign up for their comprehensive bystander intervention trainings, visit Advancing Justice's website, which provides an overview of the course and a list of upcoming sessions to attend.

Shieh called the trainings a collaborative effort. Staff at the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations - also called CAIR - initially contacted Advancing Justice to help plan these trainings. Then they both elected to incorporate the training tools developed by the anti-hate organization Hollaback! to give specific solutions for anyone facing urgent crises.

"We just want communities to feel safe to intervene, that they have these toolsets to help their communities," said Sufyan Sohel, deputy director of CAIR-Chicago. "If we don't help ourselves and each other, we can't expect others to do it."
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