Hate Crimes – Continued

Highlight examples of concrete harms:

  • The third most frequent category of hate crimes in America, after those based on race and religion, are hate crimes based on sexual orientation. It would appear that gay and transgender African-Americans are targeted at higher rates for being both gay or transgender and people of color. These crimes are perpetrated to send a message to a group that they are not accepted. These crimes are intended to force people to live in fear. ((Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Hate Crime Statistics 2010,” 2011: http://1.usa.gov/tW5wSM.))
  • According to the FBI, 18.6 percent of single-bias hate crime incidents were victims of an offender’s bias against a particular sexual orientation. ((Ibid.))
  • It is the goal of the perpetrator of a hate crime to instill that sense of fear in those he or she intimidates. Fear of whether it is safe to walk home at night. Fear of being beaten because of who you are. Simply put, people should not have to live in fear of hate crimes.

Connect through storytelling:

  • Many of us may remember James Byrd Jr., who was murdered by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas in late 1998. Byrd was dragged by a pick-up truck and pulled for nearly three miles as the truck swerved from side to side. That same year, Matthew Shephard, for whom the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was also named, was tortured, beaten with a pistol, tied to a fence, and left to die because of his sexual orientation.
  • In February 2012, Deoni Jones, a 22-year-old African American transgender woman, was fatally stabbed in the face while at a bus stop in Washington, D.C. This horrific crime demonstrates the extent to which violence against the LGBT community can occur in the most common of situations.
  • Hate crimes are real. In many cases they are brutally violent, but crimes can range from vandalism to harassment to murder. An example of this harsh reality is the story of a young African American female, Sakia Gunn, who was stabbed to death in Newark, New Jersey at the age of 15. Sakia Gunn was on her way home with friends when she was approached by two men who wanted to pursue a sexual tryst with the young girl. Once Sakia turned down their advances and acknowledged that she was a lesbian, the men stabbed her to death. Sakia should not have died young just because of who she was.
“No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street
holding the hands of the person they love.”
– President Barack Obama