The Fight Against Hate

1268 Words6 Pages
In the summer of 1998, James Byrd Jr. was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged for two miles along a dirt road by a group of people who were prejudice against his race. Four months later, two young men beat Matthew Shepard with a pistol and left him tied to a fence all night in near freezing weather because he was gay. These two attacks sent outrage throughout the country and inspired tougher punishments against hate crimes. (A hate crime is any crime that is committed due to a bias towards a particular group of people.) Currently, forty states and the District of Columbia have passed hate crime laws. Those laws ban any crime connected to bias based on gender, race, origin, sexual orientation, disability, or religion. Only…show more content…
With 7,489 incidences reported the true amount could be twice as much. Discrimination can happen to anybody, it could be a teenage girl next door, the African Americans in prominently white communities, a Jewish family living down the street, or homeless man living under a bridge. The laws have been put in place to protect those who need protection from ways the government had not thought to protect before. The Ku Klux Klan was formed in 1866. This group was responsible for a large percent of the 4,743 lynching’s that occurred from 1866 to 1968. During the civil rights movement, the KKK started to reform to intimidate civil rights workers, which encouraged Congress to pass the first hate-crime law. The law was passed in 1968 and stated that, “Anyone interfering with another person who is exercising a federal right ... if that interference is motivated by the other person’s ‘race, color, religion or national origin’” they will be punished under state laws (Update: Hate Crime Laws). Since then Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Kennedy and dozens more of policy makers have made steps to create harsher hate-crime laws. Today, laws in some states, like Florida, are getting stricter to make more of an impact. Florida’s new house-of-worship protection act, for example, “Makes vandalizing a church a third degree felony
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