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Today Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, joined several of her colleagues with an affirmative vote in support of H.R. 1592, Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Below are her remarks:


Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my support for HR 1592, the Hate Crime Prevention Act.  Every American has a right to feel safe in their community and this bill sends the message loud and clear that hate crimes have no place in the United States of America, a nation known for its diversity.  


As a woman, as a person of color and as a product of Jamaican ancestry, I have seen first hand how our great nation has benefited from its ability to embrace diversity in all of its forms. 


Since the founding of this great country, we have benefited from the diverse, multi cultural contributions of all its citizens.  These contributions are far too valuable to lose.


That is why I am proud to vote to affirm the ideals of our country by voting yes on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, HR 1592.


This bi-partisan bill focuses on providing new resources to assist state and local law enforcement agencies take a proactive approach to stop hate crimes before they occur.  And provides resources to help law enforcement effectively prosecute hate crime offenders. 


Federal hate crime legislation has been on our books since the civil rights era because Americans realize that bias-motivated crimes of violence erode the very fabric of who we are as a nation.  HR 1592 closes gaps in the existing federal law and puts it in the 21st century context.  According to the FBI, race ranks first and sexual orientation is second among the reasons that people are targeted for hate crimes. 


This bill closes the gaps and helps combat hate crimes committed against persons because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.


Let us never forget the brutal murders of James Byrd of Texas and Matthew Shepard of Wyoming.  In Brooklyn, New York, we still mourn the loss of 23 year old Michael Griffith, and 28 year old Michael Sandy.  Although there murders were twenty years apart, hate crimes were the culprit in both cases.


I join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in voting for this important legislation that aims to make hate crimes a thing of the past and hold those accountable who would challenge our diversity.”