Nashville, TN: "How terrible that someone would write ‘Muslims Go Home’ when they are home!” exclaimed a neighbor who helped organize a team of volunteers to support Nashville's Muslim community after a mosque was defaced. The community's swift response reaffirmed its commitment to inclusiveness. FEAR INSPIRES HATE
After a hate incident, Fairview Park spreads a message of inclusion
Q & A with Oscar Garcia, San Diego Deputy District Attorney, Hate Crimes Unit
A Deputy Attorney General Reflects on the Power of NIOT By Paul Sheridan, Deputy Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the West Virginia Attorney General's Office
By Darius Kemp In early May, the United States House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shephard legislation, by a margin of 75 votes, that would include sexual orientation into current hate crime laws on the federal level. A growing chorus of individuals has begun to hate the legislation instead of hating the horrible crimes of intolerance that people commit. The bill now moves over to the Senate for serious consideration. However, the passage of the bill in the House has fueled the disturbing rhetoric of opponents to the bill, and in turn this has worried its supporters. Over the past few weeks the recriminations have begun on both sides. World Net Daily (WND), a conservative reporting organization, refers to the amendment as the “Pedophile Protection Act” and argues that this amendment will criminalize the acts of people that speak out against or protect themselves from pedophiles, flashers or other “deviants.” They have mischaracterized the medical definition of sexual orientation and have included sexual acts, such as incest, into the law when the legislation does not mention anything of the sort.
Shenandoah, PA: After last week’s acquittal of two Pennsylvania teenagers charged with the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez, July 12, 2008, the civil rights group Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has called on the U.S. Justice Department to intervene. “It is time for the Department of Justice to step in and bring justice to the Ramirez family and send a strong message that violence targeting immigrants will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said MALDEF Interim President Henry Solano. Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar says the civil rights division is reviewing evidence in the case.
Hundreds of Brockton residents gathered together at a local synagogue for a vigil held after a horrific hate crime hit the town last month. “Silence is death. And we can’t be silent any longer…we have to raise our voices as one strong voice,” said Rabbi Joshua Cohen at a rally held in Brockton, MA after a horrific hate crime last month left two people dead and one hospitalized. 22-year-old Keith Luke allegedly killed a 20-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man. Luke also allegedly raped and shot the 22-year-old sister of the woman who died. He was finally brought down by police after he crashed into two vehicles while trying to evade the cops in his van. Luke has been charged with two counts of first degree murder, one count of aggravated rape, and two counts of armed assault with intent to kill. All of his victims are of Cape Verdean descent. Authorities say Luke, who is white, was intending to kill as many nonwhites and Jews as he could.
After the recent beating of Brandon Manning, a 24-year-old African American resident, the Richmond chapter of the NAACP called a vigil in El Sobrante, CA on Feb. 5, 2009, to support Manning and his family. Two dozen community members joined city and religious leaders who huddled together in the rain at the park where Manning was attacked. “I’m here to give my support to the Manning family,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “Ultimately I want to say Richmond is a place that welcomes people of all races, creeds and cultures, all sexual orientations — and at times like this, we come together to support each other and to strengthen our resolve and ability to respond and to just come back stronger.” Manning, who attended the vigil, embraced the community’s support. “If I can bring people together, then I’ve done something,” he said.
At the height of the holiday season, community members in Richmond and neighboring cities came together to show support for the survivor of a brutal hate crime. On December 27, over 150 people gathered for a candlelight vigil held for a woman who was gang raped by four men. The victim, an openly gay 28-year-old woman, was assaulted on the evening of December 13. Upon leaving her car, which had a rainbow sticker on the license plate, the woman was struck with a blunt object and repeatedly raped by the four men. Throughout the 45-minute attack, the attackers made remarks about the victim’s sexual orientation. The attack ended when they forced her out of her car and drove away, leaving her naked by a burned-out apartment complex. Last week, police arrested four suspects, two adults and two teenagers, in this case. The four men have been charged with kidnapping, gang rape, and car jacking. Hate crime enhancements have also been brought against one of the assailants. Joshua Klipp and Vanessa Wilson co-organized the vigil with the support of Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center and Community United Against Violence.
In the aftermath of the hate crime murder of Marcelo Lucero, community leaders and members have taken a strong stance against the anti-immigrant atmosphere that led to his death. Leaders from seven civil rights organizations held a news conference on Monday in Washington to denounce not only the killing of Lucero, but also the anti-immigrant actions and behaviors of politicians and the media that they see as conducive to such hate crimes. Representatives at the conference, put on by the National Council of La Raza, the Asian American Justice Center, the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, MALDEF, the National Urban League, and the Leadership Conferene on Civil Rights, also called for Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, which would grant federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes where local measures are insufficient.