Urge Your Senators to Pass Hate Crimes Legislation

07Jul09

To send an instant e-mail message to your Senators, please visit the Legislative Action Center (LAC) at our website: www.hadassah.org/actionalert. Senators can also be reached through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121

Background info:

The Senate is expected to vote on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (S. 909 ) before the August recess. This bill seeks to expand existing federal hate crimes law to cover offenses based on a victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. It gives the Department of Justice the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence and would provide federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes. The measure is carefully crafted to ensure that First Amendment protections will not be altered by its passage. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is the lead sponsor of the bill, and it currently has 44 cosponsors.

The passing of S. 909 is critical to unifying the patchwork of hate crimes laws across the country, many of which do not include sexual orientation-based, gender-based, or disability-based crimes.

On April 29, the House of Representatives passed a similar bill, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913) by a vote of 249-175.

As Jews and women, Hadassah members have a special understanding of the dangers of bigotry. Hate crimes are an extreme manifestation of intolerance and, historically, Jews and women alike have been targets. The June 10th shooting at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum serves as a stark reminder of the need for stronger hate crimes protections.

Action Needed: Please call or e-mail your Senators with the following message:

“Hate crimes threaten the viability of our communities and the federal government has an obligation to protect all of its citizens from such violence. I urge you to vote YES for the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (S.909) when it comes to the floor. By passing this law, local law enforcement agencies will be able to better prosecute and investigate hate crimes, and protect the American public no matter what their race, religion, gender, sexual-orientation or disability may be. Thank you for your support.”

To send an instant e-mail message to your Senators, please visit the Legislative Action Center (LAC) at our website: www.hadassah.org/actionalert. Senators can also be reached through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

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