Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

Just minutes ago, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. For the first time in history, individuals targeted due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status will now be protected from violent crime.

The Leadership Conference thanks you for the countless phone calls, letters, and support over the last 12 years of work toward this historic moment. Because of the work of people like you and thousands of activists, teachers, parents, and individuals around the country, our nation is one step closer to making sure that all Americans – regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, actual or perceived sexual orientation – do not have to live in fear of physical harm or intimidation.

The new law also provides the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute hate crimes in states where current law or local law enforcement action are inadequate. In many cases, localities and states have simply not had the resources to act. Hear NPR’s coverage on state and local action.

“We applaud lawmakers for recognizing the fundamental right of all Americans to be protected from violence because of their race, the way they worship, their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Congress’ decision to pass this bill sends a clear message to these victims of violence and their families – individuals like Stephen Tyrone Johns of Washington, D.C., Sean Kennedy of South Carolina, Angie Zapata of Colorado, Luis Ramirez of Pennsylvania, and Matthew Shepard of Wyoming – that we value every American’s basic civil and human right to be safe and free from physical harm,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said.

We are proud to celebrate this important and historic victory with the advocates and organizations nationwide who have worked tirelessly to push this bill over the finish line.

For more information on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Tell your fellow activists, family and friends to call their member of Congress and thank them for supporting the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act!

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Sent by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 1629 K Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20006 – (202) 466-3311


~ by vullietorrence on October 29, 2009.

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