Broad support for Herring hate crimes initiative

mark herringLegislators, community and interfaith organizations from around the Commonwealth voiced their support for Attorney General Mark Herring’s anti-hate crimes initiative. Attorney General Herring and Northern Virginia community and faith leaders will discuss the initiative during a 2:30 p.m. press conference today at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, VA.

“Hate crimes are not attacks against individuals,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, President of Interfaith Alliance. “They are attacks on entire communities, meant to strike fear and intimidation in the hearts of all members of a given group. Interfaith Alliance applauds Attorney General Herring’s efforts to protect Virginians and set a national standard for hate crime prevention.”

“The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy affirms the God-given worth and dignify of all people in the Commonwealth. Our faiths call us to stand with one another — with immigrants, with Jews, with Muslims,” said Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. “We fully support the Attorney General’s efforts to stop and investigate hate crimes.”

“It is important for all of us in Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahai, and all Faith Communities to come together to uphold civil rights and counter hate crimes against all vulnerable communities and we appreciate Attorney General Mark Herring’s leadership and proposals,” said Rizwan Jaka, Chair of the Board of ADAMS, Virginia’s Largest Mosque/Muslim Community with 11 Branches.

“ADL applauds Attorney General Herring for his efforts to protect all residents against hate-fueled criminal activity. When individuals are targeted because of the color of their skin, how they worship, or who they are, the impact resonates within the entire community. We remain committed to working in partnership to ensure that Virginia remains welcome, safe, and inclusive for all people alike,” said Doron F. Ezickson, Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League.

“Equality Virginia applauds Attorney General Herring for acknowledging the harm done to the gay and transgender community by hate crimes and for introducing legislation and launching NOHATEVA, which will help those who are victims of violence or harassment,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. “Every hour, a crime motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against the victim occurs in the United States, and Virginia is not immune to such acts. Hate crimes against gay and transgender individuals are a pervasive issue and make people fear to live in their own communities. Expanding hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity sends a message that violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people isn’t okay. Anti-gay hate crimes are the third most frequent kind of hate crimes in America and there is, however, overwhelming public support for inclusive hate crimes laws.”

“Virginians should not fear for their safety because of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, or how they pray,” said Del. Lamont Bagby (74th District.) “We each have the right to be safe from hate and to feel welcome in this Commonwealth. I am proud to partner with Attorney General Herring to introduce this legislation, and I’m proud to stand with the diverse coalition that is supporting it.”

“Every Virginian should feel welcome and enjoy equal protection under the law,” said Senator Barbara Favola (31st District.) “It is critically important to send a message that no Virginian should experience violence or harassment based on one’s gender identification or one’s perceived sexual orientation. When one of us is not safe, no one is safe. This is a public safety issue.”

“The words we use in the Code of Virginia ought to reflect the values of Virginians,” said Del. Rip Sullivan (48th District.) “The Virginia State Police already collects data on hate crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and reports that data to the FBI. Sadly, those numbers are on the rise. This bill simply codifies what we already do. It gives additional support to the State Police who continue to protect all Virginians from hate crimes. I commend Attorney General Herring for spearheading this much-needed initiative.”

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