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Historic Hate Crime Bill Filed in North Carolina General Assembly

RALEIGH, NC — Equality NC, North Carolina’s largest and oldest organization working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) equality, commends the filing of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, SB 794. The bill, if passed, would increase the scope of North Carolina’s hate crimes statute, mandate a reporting database at the State Bureau of Investigation, and require training for law enforcement and prosecutors. Filed by Senators Jay Chaudhuri and Valerie Foushee, SB794 would add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, disability and gender to the scope of our hate crimes law.

"We commend Senators Jay Chaudhuri and Valerie Foushee for sponsoring the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which for the first time would add ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, and sexual orientation to North Carolina’s hate crimes law," said Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson. "It is important that our legislature responds to the epidemic of hate violence against marginalized communities, particularly crimes targeting communities of color, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people who sit at the intersections of multiple identities. Acknowledging that members of the LGBTQ community, as well as immigrants, women and people with disabilities, are targets of violence is an important step in protecting our civil rights.”

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“This legislation protects the people of our state based on who they love and how they look,” said Senator Jay Chaudhuri. “Those protections are vital because they recognize that our state’s diversity is a strength, not a weakness. It also gives law enforcement and prosecutors an additional tool to prosecute those who carry out such crimes to the fullest extent.”

In North Carolina last year, two transgender women of color died at the hands of violent attackers, Sherrell Faulkner of Charlotte and Derricka Banner of Lenoir. Law enforcement must ensure that incidents of hate violence are appropriately investigated, reported and tracked in order for communities to better understand the circumstances under which they occur. Only then can North Carolina’s communities develop locally-based solutions to interrupt cycles of violence and focus on achieving restorative justice. Equality NC looks forward to continuing the conversation across our state about the importance of protecting our communities from hate crimes.

Equality NC is the oldest and largest statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer North Carolinians. For more information, please visit www.equalitync.org

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