Bobby WorldWide Approved AAA

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights

Greg Nickels, Mayor
Julie Nelson, Acting Director

810 Third Avenue, Suite 750, Seattle WA 98104-1627
(206) 684-4500, TTY (206) 684-0332
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Wheel Chair accessible on the Third Avenue entrance.

Hate Free Zone

About this Page

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights maintains this web site to enhance public access to information in the wake of our national tragedy of September 11. While many of us feel confused and angry about the September 11 attack, our commitment to civil rights remains unchallenged. We remember that our country was founded on ethnic and religious freedom for everyone. We know that our strength lies in unity, harmony and a strong commitment to human and civil rights.

This web site is a service that is continually under development. While we try to keep the information timely and accurate, we make no guarantees. We will make an effort to correct errors brought to our attention. Users should be aware that the information available on this web site may not reflect official positions of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. To read the complete disclaimer.

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City of Seattle

The City of Seattle has responded to hate crimes that target perceived Arab Americans and Muslims. Attached are three messages to share with your staff and the people you serve. Please use them in your mailings to the general public, and post them where people can see them. At a press conference on September 18, Governor Gary Locke and other community leaders declared Washington State a Hate Free Zone. Join the effort to protect everyone's civil rights!

Hate Crimes, September 14, 2001 (PDF format)

Letter by Mayor Schell (PDF format)

Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck Resolution (PDF format)

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Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Have No Place In Our Community

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights has prepared a flyer urging Seattle residents to report hate crimes to the Police Department. The flyer has been translated into the following languages:

Amharic | Arabic | English | Farsi | Hindi | Oromiffa | Punjabi | Somali | Tigrinya | Urdu |

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Civil Rights and Air Travel

Protection of civil rights involving U.S. airports and airlines falls under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. If an allegation of illegal discrimination involves airport personnel or programs, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction. If it involves an airline, the U.S. Department of Transportation has jurisdiction.

The Seattle-area FAA office advises people to contact it as soon as possible concerning any allegation of a civil rights violation involving an airport. If you are uncertain who has jurisdiction in your specific case, or if you prefer to talk to someone locally, contact:

Joelle Briggs, External Program Manager, Civil Rights Staff
Federal Aviation Administration
Northwest Mountain Region
1601 Lind Ave SW
Renton, WA 98055-4056

Phone: (425) 227-2097

If an allegation is clearly against an airline, individuals can contact:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division
C-75 U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20590

Phone: (202) 366-2220

When an allegation is clearly against an airline, DOT and FAA also encourage individuals to notify the airline representatives found at the website at the Web

For more information, check the web at the Web

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U. S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division

The Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights has directed the Civil Rights Division's National Origin Working Group to help combat violations of federal civil rights laws affecting individuals perceived to be of Middle Eastern descent. For more information check the site at the Web

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Fact Sheet on:

"Employment Discrimination Based on Religion, Ethnicity, or Country of Origin." Design to help Employers and Labor Unions guard against unlawful discrimination. To download the PDF format file
To the Web

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) document site is: To the Web

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Hate Free Zone Campaign

The Hate Free Zone Campaign is dedicated to establishing Washington State as a place where all individuals can feel safe, secure and welcome, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity, and where acts of hatred and discrimination will not be tolerated.

If you are in immediate danger, Call 911

For non-emergencies, call the Hate Free Zone Helpline to report a hate incident or crime, and to receive confidential support in your own language and referral services to appropriate community based organizations in your local area. . .

Call at the Toll Free number 1-866-HFZONE1

To learn more or download a pdf file.

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King County Office of Civil Rights Enforcement

Hate--not in our backyard. Hate has no place in our hearts or in our neighborhoods. Retaliation against members of our community is illegal and wrong. King County Office for Civil Rights EnforcementTo the Web

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Events In The Community


Last week, the FBI announced that it would be conducting between 150-200 interviews statewide of individuals of Iraqi descent. The FBI has said that these interviews are intended to be voluntary interviews. Interviews will be conducted regardless of immigration status (i.e. will include citizens, permanent residents and other immigrant status individuals). According to the FBI, the interviews will be completed within one week.

Last week, HFZ Campaign of Washington received word that FBI officials were arriving unannounced at the homes of individuals to solicit an interview. Often, agents arrived during the day when women and children were present alone and often unable to speak English. These FBI visits have caused a great deal of fear in the community. HFZ Campaign has requested the FBI locally to discontinue unannounced visits; however, they have not as yet agreed to this. FBI Director Charles Mandigo did agree to provide us with a list of 10-15 names of people to be interviewed that would not be visited by FBI agents and for whom we could take the lead in organizing interviews. We have yet to receive this list. In addition, we continue to receive calls from the Iraqi community that the FBI is continuing to conduct unannounced visits to the homes of Iraqis. HFZ Campaign conducted a forum in the Iraqi community this past weekend and approximately 60 people attended. The community's fear as expressed at the forum cannot be overstated.

In addition to the surveillance and interview program, Attorney General John Ashcroft has given authority to FBI agents to arrest people for immigration violations. Last Thursday, we were informed that FBI agents in conjunction with BCIE agents would be arresting Iraqis with immigration violations. In Seattle, the INS has said that this is NOT a blanket procedure but that each case would be looked at individually. However, we remain extremely concerned that FBI authorities now have the ability to arrest for INS violations, when the FBI has not been trained on INS laws.

For all of these reasons, Hate Free Zone Campaign of WA is urging all people approached by the FBI for an interview to insist on having a lawyer present for the interview. We have arranged for everyone who is approached for an interview to be represented by Federal Public Defenders. In addition, approximately 20 immigration attorneys from McDonald, Hoague and Bayless, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project have volunteered to provide immigration assistance on specific cases that may require it. The Iraqi Community Center has also arranged for volunteer interpreters when necessary. We are grateful to all these individuals for their assistance in this critical time and to HFZ Advisory Board member Ann Benson for her assistance in facilitating this process.

The procedure for getting attorneys for this purpose is listed below. Please forward this to any organizations or individuals that may be affected, and encourage people to use attorneys. It is important to note that having an attorney accompany you to the interview is not an indication of guilt. Having an attorney present is your right and for your own protection.


  1. If you or anyone you know is visited or contacted by an FBI/BCIE agent for an interview, take their name and number and tell them you will call them back. We do not advise that you answer any questions without an attorney present.

  2. Call the Iraqi Community Center at (206) 937-7680 or the Hate Free Zone Campaign of Washington at (206) 723-2203 or toll-free at 1-866-439-6631 to report the visit and request for interview.

  3. The Iraqi Community Center and HFZ Campaign will coordinate the procedure with the Federal Public Defenders.

Again, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is for individuals who are approached for interviews to have an attorney present. Please spread the word and forward on to people who may be affected or to appropriate groups.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the staff at HFZ Campaign at (206) 723-2203 or toll-free at 1-866-439-6631.

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Personal Safety on the Anniversary of September 11

After September 11, 2001, hundreds of people of color including Sikh Americans, Arab Americans, East Africans and Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds experienced personal attacks and harassment across the nation. Their attackers lashed out because of confusion, prejudice, ignorance, and lack of emotional awareness.

According to the American Red Cross, the "anniversary effect" can cause intense feelings and reactions. People may experience a resurfacing of emotions, the intensity and nature of which will vary. Some may feel no change in emotion or behavior while others will re-experience feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, or grief like those felt a year ago. Not only will victims of abuse potentially suffer from this effect, but the risk of repeat attacks rises as the general population, aided by mass media, re-lives the experiences of September 11.

Hate Free Zone Campaign of Washington does not wish to exacerbate the fear already felt by so many targeted communities. We are urging caution, not anxiety. However we are aware that risks are heightened at this time. We are therefore distributing a list of commonsense precautionary safety measures. We hope you will find them helpful.

A hate crime is targeted criminal activity, usually motivated by prejudice based on perceived personal characteristics of the victims. Hostile or hateful speech and actions motivated by prejudice are termed hate or bias incidents. These motivations may include race, religion, ethnicity or national origin, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation. Hate incidents become crimes only when they directly incite perpetrators to commit violence against persons or property, or if they place a potential victim in reasonable fear of physical injury. However, we must thoroughly document evidence in all hate incidents. Together, all of us - law enforcement, schools, businesses, religious institutions, citizens - can defuse potentially dangerous situations and prevent hate-motivated criminal behavior by responding to and documenting all hate incidents and behavior.

Stay Alert

Be aware of your surroundings, the people and activity around you. Awareness is your best self-defense. Carry a cell phone with you.

Avoid trouble: try not to walk alone at night. Use well-lit, busy streets. Walk with friends or in a group or call your community service offices for an escort. If necessary, request police patrol of your building when working after hours. If you do go out alone, let someone know where you will be going and when you will return. Avoid shortcuts, dark alleys, deserted streets and wooded areas.

Trust Your Instincts

Don't assume a false sense of security because you are either surrounded by people or in a remote area. If you think something is wrong, remove yourself from the situation. Trust your gut - if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Project Confidence

Walk as if you know where you're going. Stand tall. Walk in a confident manner, and hold your head up. Keep your hands free and keep them chest high in heavy crowds.

Carry a Whistle

If you feel threatened, blow your whistle, bang garbage cans, honk your horn, or shout "fire!" to attract attention.

Have Everything You Need Ready

Hold your keys when going to and from your car, home and business. This will save time and give you some security in having protection. Any device you carry for protection may be used against you. Select such security devices carefully. Don't carry more money than you will need, but always have emergency change for a phone call. When parking, park in a well-lit area and lock your car. Look around before you exit your car. When returning to your car, have your keys ready to open the door, and look inside before sitting down.

When taking public transportation, time your arrival at the bus stop so that your wait is short. Wait in a well-lit area. Try to sit close to the driver, and watch who gets off the bus with you.

If You Feel Threatened

Cross the street, change direction, go to a place where there are other people, or walk closer to traffic. Step out in the street on the other side of parked cars. If you think a car is following you, turn around and walk quickly in the opposite direction. Try to memorize the license plate number and description. If you think you are being followed on foot, turn around to let the person know that you have seen them. Immediately cross the street or go quickly toward a place where a number of people will be.

Do Not Open The Door To Strangers Without Verifying Their Identity

Make strangers show you a picture ID and make police officers, INS or FBI show you formal identification. You do not have to allow them inside unless they have a warrant and they show it to you. Check locks on all doors and windows.

Do Not Give Personal Information Over The Phone Or To "Wrong Number" Callers

Instruct children, visitors, and/or extended family members to do the same.

Avoid Confrontations

If you are insulted or challenged to a fight, respond in a peaceful manner and contact police immediately. Do not resort to physical or verbal abuse. Ensure that your children know what steps to take to avoid confrontation. Make sure your child's school has implemented an anti-discrimination policy.

Change The World

Make your home and your neighborhood a safe haven. Talk to your children, and listen to them. Reach out to anyone who may be targeted. Let them know you are available to help. If you feel you may be a target, talk to your neighbor or workmate about it. Get to know your neighbors: a simple smile and a chat can go a long way to make everyone feel more at home in their neighborhood. Many Mosques, Gurudwaras, Synagogues and Churches have established committees and developed plans to safeguard their members since September 11. Familiarize yourself and your family with these plans and people.

If you feel you may be a target, call us on the Washington State HATE FREE ZONE Helpline: 1-866-HFZONE1 (1-866-439-6631). We may be able to help you organize support or a safety plan.

Post HATE FREE ZONE signs in your home and workplace, particularly up to and including the week of September 11, 2002. You can pick up the signs for posting and distribution from:

King County Labor Council Suite 206
2800 1st Ave between Broad and Clay in Seattle
between 9 AM and 5 PM Monday to Friday
A project of the Diversity Committee of the KCLC

If You Are The Victim of An Attack:

DIAL 911 for emergency assistance or if your life is in danger.
Try to get a clear look at the person so that you can accurately describe physical build, clothing and mannerisms.

DOCUMENT everything: names, dates, times, badge numbers

FILE a police report

KEEP A COPY of all records

CALL the Washington State HATE FREE ZONE Helpline: 1-866-HFZONE1 (1-866-439-6631). It is essential that these incidents are recorded or we, and the state and federal agencies working with us, will not be able to prevent them in the future.

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100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans: Coverage

The document was printed by the Detroit Free Press. The document format is PDF and to view it you need Adobe Acrobat. To the Web

About PDF Files:  To view PDF files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader in your system.  You can   Navigation to Adobe to download Adobe Acrobat the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from their site free of charge.

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Collection of Helpful Material When Interacting With Children

SCCFT Responds - a contribution to those who are parents or have children in their lives. Site with suggestions for Muslim and Arab-American parents, from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Advice to Arab-American Parents - Helping Children CopeTo the Web

America Under Attack: Talking Points Parents Can Use with Their Children by Laura Jana, M.D., F.A.A.P.To the Web

Helping Children Cope with Death by Dr. Benjamin SpockTo the Web

Helping children cope with violence and traumaTo the Web

Helping Kids Cope in a Time of Crisis and Fear by Katy AbelTo the Web

Helping Kids Handle Tragic Headlines (Sears)To the Web

Helping Young Children Deal With Tragic Events in the News. (A Message from Fred Rogers)To the Web

Helping Your Children Cope with the News of Reported Terrorist Attacks by Laura Jana, M.D., F.A.A.P.To the Web

Talking to Children About Violence and Other Sensitive and Complex Issues in the World.To the Web

Talking with Children about Today's Tragic Events.To the Web

Talking with Children about Violence (Children Now)To the Web

Talking with Children about the News.To the Web

When Your Kids Hear about Scary News (D. Levin).To the Web

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This page was updated on: October 22, 2003, by: Priscilla Poulos