CommunityPam's House Blend

Tell Congress to pass hate crimes legislation

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost ten years since Matthew Shepard was killed in Wyoming. It seems like yesterday.

Then again, it’s only been a few weeks since 72-year-old disabled Andrew Anthos was attacked by pipe-wielding maniac, a fellow passenger on a city bus who called him “faggot” and beat him, paralyzing him and sending him into a coma — and Andros later died.

Then again, only last week 25-year-old Ryan Keith Skipper was murdered, stabbed about 20 times for allegedly making a pass at a man.

Authorities are investigating the killing of a central Florida man as a hate crime after interviews with people who knew him revealed he was gay, officials said.

William David Brown Jr., 20, and Joseph Bearden, 21, were being held without bond in the Polk County Jail Saturday after being charged with first degree murder in connection to Ryan Keith Skipper’s death, authorities said.

…A witness came forward and said Skipper was killed because he made an advance toward Brown, Wood said. Authorities are treating the killing as a hate crime, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

This is why it’s time to pass The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would extend its coverage to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

HRC has launched a campaign to let Congress know that this important legislation should be passed — contact your representatives.

Hate Crimes Affect More than Just the Individual Attacked. All violent crimes are reprehensible. But the damage done by hate crimes cannot be measured solely in terms of physical injury or dollars and cents. Hate crimes rend the fabric of our society and fragment communities because they target a whole group and not just the individual victim. Hate crimes are committed to cause fear to a whole community. A violent hate crime is intended to “send a message” that an individual and “their kind” will not be tolerated, many times leaving the victim and others in their group feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding