Support the “Recognizing Persons of African descent in Europe” Bill

Media 10.2,08

Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and
most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we write to you in strong support of “Recognizing Persons of African descent in Europe” (HR. 1496), a bill introduced by Rep. Alcee Hastings.

The resolution urges Europeans to address the persistent problem of racism and discrimination,
particularly with respect to hate crimes and promoting greater integration of persons of African
descent into all levels of European society. Such problems have been well documented by
numerous experts and observers. In fact, a recent report by Human Rights First found persons of
African descent in Europe are the targets of racially motivated harassment and violent crimes at
increasingly alarming rates.

LCCR has long held the view that 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. By making victims of hate violence and their communities fearful,
angry, and suspicious of other groups — including the power structure intended to protect them
— these incidents can fragment communities and damage the fabric of our society.

Additionally, various experts at an April 29, 2008 hearing before the Commission on Security
and Cooperation in Europe said Black Europeans encounter discrimination in the workplace, in
the housing market, and have difficulty accessing health care services.

In an effort to combat such problems the resolution recommends European parliamentarians
introduce anti-discrimination legislation, collect census data on Black Europeans, and conduct
public education campaigns to counter racial stereotyping in the media and textbooks. The U.S.
Secretary of State should provide support for such initiatives whenever possible.

LCCR welcomes the resolution as a great contribution to the global dialogue on race, diversity,
and human rights.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Antoine Morris,
Communications Researcher, at (202) 263-2894 or [email protected].

Wade Henderson, Executive Director
Nancy Zirkin, Deputy Director