Congress Must Protect Communities Targeted for Hate

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Arab American Institute, and 87 other civil and human rights organizations released a letter today urging Congress to pass the Jabara-Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act. The legislation was reintroduced today with bipartisan support in the House and will be introduced in the Senate on Monday, April 12.

“The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act is an important piece of legislation that would improve hate crime statistics and promote a better response to hate crime within our communities,” the groups noted. “We support this legislation at a time when hate crimes against Asian American communities as well as hate crimes against other people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community are increasing.” The groups also highlighted the community-centered focus of the legislation, suggesting alternatives to increased carceral penalties in some cases, that emphasized investments in communities that “would improve the response to hate crime within law enforcement and the criminal-legal system, and reduce barriers to receiving support or assistance that many hate crime victims experience.”

In addition to stressing the urgent need for this legislation to address the increased violence, the groups also point to the ongoing inaccuracy of hate crimes reporting. “The Department of Justice estimates that U.S. residents experienced an average of 204,600 hate crimes each year from 2013 to 2017, which is more than 33 times the average annual number of hate crimes collected under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act during the same period,” they said. “Because the survey data do not include offenses such as intimidation or vandalism, which account for most hate crimes recorded in the HCSA data, the disparity between the survey data and the HCSA data is even more significant than what is cited above.”
The groups illustrated this disparity with the exclusion of the high profile hate crime killings of Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, for whom the legislation is named. Although both murders were prosecuted as hate crimes, they were not recorded in the federal hate crime reports in the respective years they were killed.
We look forward to the Senate introducing this important legislation next week. By passing the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE ACT and prioritizing funding and support for communities targeted for hate, Congress can demonstrate a renewed commitment to combating racism and ending the harassment and violence communities of color, religious minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community have faced for generations

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