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Letter to the Senate in Support of a Hate Crimes Amendment to The Department of Defense Authorization Bill

July 08, 2009

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association’s 3.2 million members, we urge your support for an amendment that may be offered to the FY 2010 Department of Defense Authorization legislation that would add the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act to the bill.  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.  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. 

The bipartisan Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act has the support of  26 state attorneys general and over 300 national law enforcement, professional, education, civil rights, religious, and civic organizations, as well as the support of the overwhelming majority of American people.  The House has already passed this important and long overdue legislation.  We urge the Senate to do the same by adopting an amendment to the DoD authorization bill.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy