As images of neo-Nazis marching through our streets fill our screens, and reports of a growing number of hate crimes sweep the country, how can the Community Relations Service (CR5), a small component of the US Department of Justice created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, help preserve democracy? What is at stake when the Trump Administration threatens to essentially eliminate CR5? This Essay describes the ways in which CRS not only helps communities address tension associated with discrimination, reduce the potential for violence, and prevent and respond more effectively to hate crimes, but also how its services help strengthen democracy.

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