______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Hate Crimes July 31, 2011

I give a damn. Do you?

Every Hour, More Hate
Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. In fact, in the U.S., one violent act of hate takes place almost every hour of every single day. In 2008, 7,783 incidents of hate crime were voluntarily reported to the FBI. It’s time to give a damn about hate crimes!
It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes involve beatings, rape, torture—even murder. Victims are targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, race, color or any number of superficial factors. According to FBI statistics, 1 out of every 6 hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.
Imagine walking down the street and wondering if this will be the day you get beaten up, simply for who you are and through no fault of your own.
It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes are dehumanizing, willful acts of bigotry perpetrated with the intent to intimidate, to target a specific community and to send a message about the victim and “their kind.”
Imagine hearing about a brutal crime and having to worry if you’ll be next—not because you know the victim or because you did anything—but simply because some stranger has chosen to hate one aspect of who you are.
Hate crimes affect everyone
Think hate crimes don’t affect you? Think again. Hate crimes are particularly insidious because they are committed against innocent people—people who live in your city, in your neighborhood, even on your block. Anyone can become a victim: your sister, your uncle, your son, the woman you work with, the guy you sit next to in class… even you.
Federal legislation is starting to buckle down on perpetrators of hate crimes. On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which gives the Department of Justice the authority to prosecute hate crimes, including attacks based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.
But we still have a long way to go. Because—be honest—are you really OK with living in a country where a hate crime takes place every hour? Do you really intend to look the other way while such violent acts of hate are perpetrated—on your relatives, your friends, your neighbors?
It’s time for things to change.
It’s time to end these violent crimes of hate for good.


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