Inter-Group Relations (IGR): Community Tensions and Hate Crimes

Promoting Inter-Group Understanding and Addressing Community Tensions and Hate Crimes

The Inter-Group Relations (IGR) division of the Commission on Human Relations reacts to incidents of violence and proactively provides educational workshops to reduce discrimination and hate while promoting inter-group understanding. Chicago, like other large urban cities, experiences conflicts and community tensions that are often fueled by misunderstanding and fear in areas undergoing change based on race, class or culture.  This can include gentrification, immigration, and also the relocation of public housing residents into new communities.  IGR staff members work to identify key stakeholders and leaders in these communities to discuss concerns and develop community-based solutions. This unit is regularly called upon in times of crisis to intercede in communities where violence may have occurred or has the potential for occurring.  Many of these conflicts occur in or around schools, and in communities between residents and neighbors. 



Strategies to increase awareness of civil-rights protections, prevent violence against protected classes, and advocate for hate crime victims:
  • Increase channels of communication and number of presentations regarding the civil rights protections offered under Chicago’s Human Rights Ordinance and Fair Housing Ordinance so as to reduce discriminatory actions and to increase the number of complainants served.
  • Prioritize education as a means of preventing violence against members of the protected classes and deliver workshops on hates crimes, diversity, bullying, and conflict management.
  • Convene stakeholders who work on the issue of hate crimes to develop common objectives in addressing hate crimes and further develop the infrastructure upon which hate-crime policy recommendations can be made.


Violence and hate crimes are most often based on race, religious differences, sexual orientation, or gender identity, therefore increased outreach to schools and communities is a priority.
IGR staff members can mediate community tensions and conflict. They can also deliver presentations explaining the protections offered under Chicago’s Human Rights and Fair Housing Ordinances, how to file a complaint of discrimination, and how to call for assistance if someone is a victim of a hate crime. In addition, they can advocate on behalf of victims of hate crimes.
  • Community Mediation: IGR responds to requests from individuals or communities who are involved in a dispute and attempts to reach a resolution.  A staff mediator can facilitate the communication between people in conflict and help each party understand the other person’s point of view and rights.
  • Presentations: Our professional team is ready to provide presentations on
    • Bullying
    • Disability
    • Compliance
    • Hate Crimes
    • Prejudice Reduction
  • Outreach: IGR will come to your community, school, or place of worship and discuss what your civil rights are under the law and the remedies available if you have experienced discrimination. IGR reaches out to individuals and public and private institutions to promote the Commission's services and provide information on the Chicago Human Rights and Fair Housing Ordinances as well as procedures on how to file discrimination complaints.
  • Assistance for Hate Crime Victims: IGR provides assistance to victims as their cases are litigated through the criminal courts and advocates on their behalf as they search for civil litigation alternatives.

Workshops and Presentations

To see a listing of the various worshops and peace circles the Commission offers, visit workshops or presentations for more information.  


For more information, contact:


Kenneth Gunn, First Deputy Commissioner 312.744.1545 


Hate Crimes
Norman White, Hate Crimes Specialist 312.744.4874

Community Tensions

Aracelis Castañeda, Human Relations Specialist 312.742.4172


Jennifer Scott, Human Relations Specialist 312.744.1093


Cheryl Reid, Human Relations Specialist 312.744.1543



Department Main Office

Commission on Human Relations

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