WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ten years ago, President Obama signed the first significant pro-lesbian, pro-woman, pro-disability rights legislation, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named for two victims of horrific hate crimes that shocked the nation.
That legislation has made an enormous difference in the last decade, but there’s more to be done. We’re still seeing scores more reported instances of intolerance, hatred and violence against LGBTQIA+ individuals that add to the nation’s shock—and shame. Now, our country has the chance to recommit our determination to ensure enforcement of gender-based hate crimes under federal law. We must also act decisively to protect religious minorities, immigrants and other targets of the rising tide of White Nationalism in the U.S.
NOW calls on Congress to pass the bipartisan Jabara-Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act of 2019, which vastly improves federal reporting of hate crimes and helps strengthen police responses to incidents of hate, among other provisions. We are also encouraging our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters to ask their representatives to co-sponsor this important legislation.
Khalid Jabara was gunned down in a hate crime in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville when a racist drove his car into a crowd of people.
Hate crimes are more than violent assaults on innocent individuals—they are designed to frighten, alienate and disenfranchise entire communities.
We are all Matthew Shepard. We are all James Byrd, Jr. We are all Khalid Jabara. We are all Heather Heyer. And we demand justice.