Press

President Clinton Speaks Out On Hate

Date: 
June 08, 1997

President Clinton, in a Saturday morning radio address, spoke out against acts of hatred based on skin color, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender, ability and sexual orientation. In his address, the President announced that he would convene a special White House Conference on Hate Crimes on November 10.

At the conference, according to the President, the White House will bring together victims of hate crimes their families as well as law enforcement experts and officials from Congress and the Justice Department. He also said that community and religious leaders will be invited to the conference to take a look at existing laws against hate crimes and consider ways to improve and to strengthen them.

In his speech, the President mentioned several acts of hate-related violence. He spoke about a recent incident in Washington, D.C. in which three men accosted a gay man in a park, forced him at gunpoint to go under a bridge and beat him viciously while using anti-gay epithets. "Such hate crimes, committed solely because the victims have a different skin color or a different faith or are gays or lesbians, leave deep scars not only on the victims, but on our larger community," said the President.

"We applaud President Clinton for raising the level of concern regarding bias crimes," said Kerry Lobel, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director. "There is a persistent problem of intolerance in our country based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender and disability. We welcome his call for a special White House Conference on Hate Crimes and look forward to a more vigorous effort to stamp out these acts of violence that hurt our image as a nation and only separate us from one another."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.