June 29, 2020 — Boston
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh today joined a virtual press conference and added their voices to those of leading civil rights, social justice, business and civic organizations in an appeal urging Senate support for the “Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act (S.2043).” The initiative, organized by American Jewish Committee, The Commonwealth Seminar and Get Konnected!, includes 19 organizations (see below for the complete list) that are urging action to address the profound challenge posed by hate crime and prejudice.
Racism, antisemitism and other forms of bigotry are on the rise in the United States. Hate crime is one of the most chilling manifestations of this disturbing trend. Yet our nation’s ability to address this problem is hindered by a lack of information. According to the most recent FBI Hate Crimes Report, in 2018, more than 80 cities of over 100,000 residents did not report hate crimes to the FBI, including Lowell, MA; Madison, WI; Newark, NJ, and Syracuse, NY.
To address this challenge, AJC New England, The Commonwealth Seminar and Get Konnected! convened a coalition that sent letters to members of the Senate and House* today to urge renewed action to ensure passage of the NO HATE Act.
According to AJC New England Director Robert Leikind, Get Konnected! CEO and Founder Colette Philips and Commonwealth Seminar Executive Director Leverett Wing, “We cannot reverse our country’s legacy of racial and religious hatred. Like tens of millions of people across our nation, however, we are mindful that now is a time when we can and must take tangible steps to safeguard our democracy and secure our national future against the devastating harm caused by unbridled hatred. The NO HATE Act will make an important contribution to this effort.”
In her comments, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey referenced a number of examples of hate crimes in the Commonwealth “Throughout these uncertain times, hate crimes have increased in this country, and what we’ve seen happening in our communities is completely unacceptable. We must do more to consistently report and address these crimes, and this legislation is a meaningful step toward gathering the data we need for the right prevention policies and practices to be put in place. Now is the time for leaders in Congress to lean in, meet this moment, and have the NO HATE Act adopted,” Healey said.
The NO HATE Act will improve hate crime reporting through the provision of law enforcement trainings; the development of infrastructure needed to support hate crime identification, investigation and reporting; the establishment of hotlines for victims of hate crimes; the provision of resources to better coordinate with affected communities; and public educational forums on hate crimes. We cannot allow crimes motivated by hatred towards a victim’s real or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability to go unchecked and uncounted.
“America needs the NO HATE Act,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This moment of urgency we’re in right now demands it. Hate crimes are racism and discrimination’s most powerful tool, injecting fear and anger into our neighborhoods and tearing apart our communities. We must do everything we can to stop hate in its tracks and to stand up for what’s right.”
Other speakers at today’s virtual press conference included Colette Phillips (Get Konnected!), Robert Leikind (American Jewish Committee), Leverett Wing (The Commonwealth Seminar), Keith Motley (Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts) and Ivan Espinosa Madrigal (Lawyers for Civil Rights).
* House version of the bill was passed in May 2020 as part of the HEROES Act coronovirus stimulus bill, but there may be procedural reasons that the House will have to consider this or a similar bill again in the future.
List of New England supporting organizations as of June 29, 2020
- AJC New England (American Jewish Committee)
- ADL New England (Anti-Defamation League)
- Armenian Assembly of America
- Asian Community Development Corporation
- Boys and Girls Club
- Chica Project
- Facing History and Ourselves
- Get Konnected!
- GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
- International Institute of New England
- Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA)
- Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC)
- Lawyers for Civil Rights
- Massachusetts Board of Rabbis
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Boston
- National Center for Race Amity
- The Commonwealth Seminar
- Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts