LCCR Backs Bipartisan Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005

Media 05.26.05

Washington – Today Nancy Zirkin, Deputy Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition joined Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Lleana Ros-Lehiten (R-FL) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) to endorse the bipartisan introduction of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005. Zirkin said the following about the legislation:

“The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005, like the version introduced in the 108th Congress, will enhance the federal response to hate crime violence by covering all violent crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The bill will also permit federal involvement in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes based on the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Violence directed against individuals on the basis of their race, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation is disturbingly prevalent — and poses significant threats to the full participation of all Americans in a democratic society. Bias-motivated crimes are designed to intimidate the victim and members of the victim’s community, leaving them feeling isolated, vulnerable, and unprotected by the law. These incidents damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities.

While LCCR recognizes that bigotry cannot be legislated out of existence, a forceful, moral response to hate violence is required of us all. We strongly believe that Congress must do everything possible to empower the federal government to assist in local hate crime prosecutions and, where appropriate, expand existing federal authority to permit a wider range of investigations and prosecutions. LCCR believes that the Hate Crimes Act of 2005 is a constructive response to a problem that continues to plague our country.”