Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Bell Atlantic Respond to President Clinton's Call to Fight Hate Speech

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Bell Atlantic Respond to President Clinton's Call to Fight Hate Speech

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Brian Komar



John Chambersi

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Bob Varettoni

Bell Atlantic


Washington, D.C. -- The Leadership
Conference on Civil
Rights (LCCR), the Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF) and Bell
Atlantic (NYSE:BEL)
today launched a new web site, www.civilrights.org,
to fight the escalating problem of hate speech on the Internet.

The civil rights organizations announced their new weapon in the war
on hate crimes at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The initiative was inspired by President Clinton's call for Americans
to find ways to eliminate hate crimes, a challenge made at the recent
White House Conference on Hate Crimes.

"Bell Atlantic saw an opportunity to join forces with the civil rights
community to counter the frightening espousal of hatred and violence
against Americans because of their race, gender, religion or sexual
orientation," said Bell Atlantic Chairman and CEO Ray Smith.

Bell Atlantic is contributing $100,000 to develop the web site,
including a grant from the Bell Atlantic Foundation to maintain the
site for two years.

The LCCR/LCEF web site will provide: up-to-date information on hate
crimes around the country; community, legal and law enforcement
strategies to address those crimes; materials for young people, parents
and teachers to help future generations embrace tolerance and

The web site also contains information on affirmative action,
disability policy and religious freedom issues, congressional voting
records and coalition members.

The idea to create an Internet site was also triggered by the
proliferation of Internet hate speech by groups such as the Ku Klux
Klan and the White Aryan Resistance.

Such hate groups have become more sophisticated in communicating their
doctrines and in recruiting, according to LCCR Executive Director Wade
Henderson. "Instead of the street, they recruit on the net," he said.

The number of hate sites on the Internet has more than doubled to 250
in the last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Despite growing concerns about the flood of cyberhate, there's also
greater concern and support for the First Amendment protection of free
speech. "This web site will respond to hate with information and
competing ideas without seeking to restrict Internet speech,"
Henderson added. "Our site, www.civilrights.org, is an antidote to

Political, community and civil rights leaders joined Henderson and
Smith in launching the web site. They included:
Rodney Slater, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation;
Maria Echaveste, assistant to the president and director of the White
House office of public liaison; Dorothy I. Height, chair, LCCR and
president, National Council of Negro Women; Wade Henderson, executive
director, LCCR; Karen McGill Lawson, executive director, LCEF;
Abraham H. Foxman, national director, Anti-Defamation League; and
Raul Yzaguirre, president and CEO, National Council of La Raza

The web site was developed and designed by Issues Dynamics
Incorporated, a Washington, D.C. based communications firm.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is the oldest, largest and
most broadly based civil rights coalition in the country and has been
at the core of federal civil rights initiatives over the last 47
years. The Leadership Conference Education Fund is a nonprofit
organization that conducts research and educational activities on
civil rights issues and communicates with the American people about
the strength of our diversity.

Based in New York, the new Bell Atlantic -- formed through the merger
of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -- is at the forefront of the new
communications, information and entertainment industry. With 40
million telephone access lines and 5.8 million wireless customers
worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced
wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services
and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell
Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in
high-growth global communications markets, with operations and
investments in 21 countries.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation administers all domestic and
international philanthropic grants on behalf of Bell Atlantic. For a
complete list of grant recipients and additional information, visit
www.bellatlanticfoundation.com on the Internet.