Press

Task Force submits testimony for Senate hearing on hate crimes and domestic extremism

Date: 
September 19, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT:

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund submitted testimony for today’s Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism,” in response to ongoing hate violence, including the shooting last month at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.

In its testimony, the Task Force cited the most recent FBI statistics that revealed 6,624 hate crime incidents in 2010: 47.3 percent racially motivated, 20 percent religious, 19.3 percent sexual orientation, 12.8 percent ethnicity/national origin, and 0.6 percent disability.

Also, the Task Force cited the alarming rates of violence against transgender people. According to its groundbreaking study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 26 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported experiencing physical assault because of their gender identity/expression. Furthermore, while this number is already unconscionably high, the evidence shows that transgender people of color are impacted even more because of the multiple biases held against them.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“We join with people from all backgrounds who stand united against hate crimes and domestic extremism. No one should live in fear while going about their daily business, whether it be attending a worship service, holding the hand of the person they love, or simply being who they are. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially those of color, understand all too well what it’s like to be targeted for being who they are. The Senate is doing the right thing by shining a light on the continuing scourge of hate violence. One of America’s greatest assets is its rich diversity, and intimidation and violence against anyone should not be tolerated.”

More on the Task Force Senate testimony

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund testimony cited several recommendations to help address hate crimes in the United States, including:

  • Support curriculum and other measures in schools to teach diversity and inclusion, and fight bullying and harassment, including the passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
  • Ensure robust and comprehensive implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
  • Pass the “End the Racial Profiling Act.”
  • Urge the Department of Justice to amend the 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies to also include profiling based on religion and national origin.
  • Fully fund the Department of Justice Community Relations Service, which mediates and assists communities that are experiencing hate crimes and other forms of inter-group conflict.

For the full testimony, download here. Task Force staff also spoke at a related press conference following the hearing.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund builds the grassroots political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Task Force Action Fund does this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation, and works to pass pro-LGBT legislation and other progressive initiatives. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the Task Force Action Fund are not tax-deductible.