Public engagement with diverse communities whose civil rights may be affected by Department activities is a priority for the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). Our Community Engagement Section responds to community concerns and provides information on Department programs, activities, and issues. Our goal is to:
- Communicate reliable information about federal programs and policies, including avenues for redress and complaints;
- Obtain feedback about community concerns and on-the-ground impacts of Department activities, in order to incorporate into the policymaking process community ideas and issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties; and
- Deepen channels of communication between communities and federal officials in order to facilitate solution of problems.
CRCL facilitates a range of engagements that include interagency roundtables, community meetings, civil society stakeholder listening sessions, and public townhalls – all of which are designed to promote inclusive, policy-oriented, and solution-focused dialogue with diverse communities who feel their civil rights or civil liberties may be affected by DHS activities. These engagements regularly involve community and faith-based leaders and federal, state, and local government officials. In recent years, CRCL has regularly convened engagements with stakeholders in numerous cities across the country.
New York City
Rio Grande Valley
CRCL's Incident Community Coordination Team (ICCT) is a national conference call that allows for rapid two-way communication between the federal government and impacted communities in the immediate aftermath of a homeland security incident or emergency. The ICCT call provides timely information to communities and allows them to provide feedback to senior government officials on:
- allegations of hate crimes;
- specific community needs and asks in the time of crisis;
- reactions or concerns to policies or enforcement actions taken by the government; and
- feedback on how the government might be more effective in responding to acts of domestic violent extremism or other national emergencies.
CRCL regularly coordinates with international government and civil society partners to share best practices on community outreach and engagement efforts. To date, CRCL’s international engagement work has included:
- presenting at conferences in Austria, Bosnia, Canada, Denmark, Kazakhstan, and Poland; and
- participating in State Department-sponsored public diplomacy trips to Egypt, England, France, Germany, and Kyrgyzstan, among other countries.
CRCL leads efforts to raise awareness and cultural competency considerations for DHS personnel on a range of topics that affect diverse and faith-based communities. This work includes the development of training materials on diverse religious and cultural groups that are intended to inform best practices in community outreach.
Most recently, in support of the Operation Allies Welcome mission, CRCL developed training materials for staff and volunteers that focused on cultural competency, along with basic principles to help guide their interactions with newly arrived Afghans.
Posters on Common Muslim American Head Coverings, Common Sikh American Head Coverings, and the Sikh Kirpan
These training posters provide guidance to Department personnel on ways in which to screen, if needed, Muslim or Sikh individuals wearing various types of religious head coverings and Sikh individuals carrying a kirpan (ceremonial religious dagger).
On Common Ground
This training DVD on Sikhism was created for law enforcement personnel by the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service in collaboration with the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Guidance Regarding the Use of Race for Law Enforcement Officers
This training on the Department of Justice (DOJ) racial profiling guidance was produced by the U.S. Secret Service and reiterates the Department of Homeland Security's commitment to race neutrality in law enforcement activities.
The First Three to Five Seconds
This training, produced by the DOJ's Community Relations Service, introduces law enforcement officers to basic principles of the Arab American and Muslim American cultures.
- Subscribe to CRCL's newsletter by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Follow CRCL on Facebook for updates on our roundtables and other activities at www.facebook.com/CivilRightsandCivilLiberties.
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
2707 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE
Mail Stop #0190
Washington, DC 20528-0190