During the 2016 presidential campaign, at the highest levels of national politics, longstanding democratic norms of mutual respect and civility gave way to regular expressions of animus and disdain towards toward fellow citizens. In the wake of the election, reports proliferated of threats, harassment and violence directed against individuals on the basis of their race, religion, national identity or immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, and political perspective. Abuses of this kind have no place in a democratic society, and should disturb any American regardless of party preference.
We at UCLA Law School feel it is important to bear witness to words and deeds that go against our laws and principles and threaten basic democratic norms of nonviolence, inclusiveness and diversity. UCLA Law is therefore launching UCLA Law WATCH (Witness and Advocate To Combat Hate), a project to track documented incidents of harassment, intimidation or violence, whether motivated by racism, xenophobia, nativism, religious bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, or any other manifestation of hatred or intolerance around the United States. The project will also provide up-to-date information on applicable laws and compile materials about the legal resources for victims of such incidents.
UCLA Law WATCH collects information about incidents of harassment, intimidation, and violence from print and online media reports. Volunteers track the location, nature and the apparent motivation of each incident, and the news source that reported it. UCLA Law WATCH does not independently verify information in news reports or capture incidents that are not chronicled in the media. Reports subsequently proven to be unfounded will be removed from the database.
The UCLA Law WATCH site with searchable data will be published on March 1.
Transparency and accountability are vital to a healthy democracy. With this database, UCLA Law WATCH aims to disseminate information about - and to shine a spotlight on - the experience of American society’s most vulnerable members.