Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement commemorating the 11th anniversary of the signing of the historic Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which deters hate crimes by expanding federal protections and equipping state and local law enforcement with the tools needed to prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, disability or gender identity:
“For more than a decade, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has stood as a pillar of justice, reaffirming that all people are created equal and deserve equal protection under the law. With his signature, President Obama honored the years of tireless work by countless victims, families and advocates to topple barriers to justice for all Americans, regardless of who you are or whom you love.
“Eleven years later, as our nation confronts the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, the scourge of bigotry, discrimination and violent hate crimes are on the rise while the President and his Administration continue to attack communities of color and embolden white supremacists. Instead of working to unite our nation at this challenging time, the Administration has doubled down on their hateful agenda, sowing discord, instilling fear and reversing vital legal protections for LGBTQ Americans, immigrants, religious minorities and communities of color. These outrageous actions undermine our laws and our most sacred values, and House Democrats will continue fighting to protect the rights and dignity of all Americans.
“On this anniversary, we must once again declare that acts of hatred and bigotry have no place in the United States of America. Inspired by the lives and tragic murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. as well as the countless other victims of hate crimes, we will not rest until we have secured the right to justice, equality and security for everyone.”
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