For Immediate Release
Director of Law Policy | Sikh Coalition
(202) 747-4944 | firstname.lastname@example.org
August 21, 2012 (Washington, DC) – A diverse group of more than 150 organizations, led by the Sikh Coalition, issued a letter today calling upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to conduct hearings on hate crimes and the proliferation of hate groups in the United States.
Citing the massacre of Sikh worshipers in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and a string of attacks on Muslim communities nationwide during the last month, the letter notes that hate violence continues to affect the lives of thousands of individuals due to their race, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, and immigration status.
“We want to do everything in our power to make sure what happened in Oak Creek never happens to anyone again,” said Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy for the Sikh Coalition. “Given the persistence of hate crimes and sheer number of hate groups in the United States, we want our policymakers to be proactive about uprooting bigotry in the United States. As First Lady Michele Obama visits the aggrieved families in Oak Creek this Thursday, we hope that Congress will do its part by looking at ways to improve our nation’s hate crime laws.”
Although advocates hailed the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, and its new protections for the LGBT community and people with disabilities, they point out that hate crime reporting under the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 remains voluntary. According to the letter, this helps explain why FBI hate crime statistics understate the true number of hate crimes in the United States.
The signatories to the letter continue to work closely with Senate offices supportive of bringing these hearings together this Fall and look forward to continued support on both sides of the political aisle in bringing the hearings to fruition.