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Letter to the House Supporting Passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act

April 28, 2009

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association’s 3.2 million members, we urge your support for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913), scheduled for floor consideration this week.  Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress.

In spite of our nation’s substantial advances toward equality over the past 40 years, prejudice and hatred continue to lead to violence.  Unfortunately, hate crimes have become more prevalent in recent years.  According to FBI statistics, 118,000 hate crimes have been reported since 1991, and Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice estimates that over 9,000 hate crimes occur each year.

As educators, NEA members share a commitment to protecting the civil and human rights of our students and communities.  We believe the federal government must play a leadership role in confronting criminal acts motivated by prejudice.

NEA has taken aggressive steps to address the issue of hate crimes in the context of schools and school districts.  NEA and its affiliates have worked to develop training for educators and programs for students regarding hate crimes and human relations skills.  But our efforts in this area will not be successful absent a comprehensive federal/state/local partnership to address hate crimes. 

H.R. 1913 has strong bipartisan support in Congress; the support of many law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious groups; and the support of the overwhelming majority of American people.  We urge your support for this important initiative. 

Thank you.


Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy