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Families of Heather Heyer & Khalid Jabara, Bipartisan Delegation, Advocacy Groups To Call For Congressional Passage Of NO HATE Act

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From Rep. Don Beyer’s office:

Families of Heather Heyer & Khalid Jabara, Bipartisan Delegation, Advocacy Groups To Call For Congressional Passage Of NO HATE Act

September 25, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) – Today at the U.S. Capitol a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional delegation, leading national advocacy groups, and the families of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara called for swift passage of the NO HATE Act. The NO HATE Act seeks to address the underreporting of hate crimes and improve police response to hate crimes. Jabara and Heyer were both killed by men who were prosecuted for hate crimes, but those murders were not reported by state and local law enforcement to the FBI.

“Until all hate crimes are accurately reported and tracked, and an effective response mounted, lives like Khalid’s and Heather’s will continue to be cut short, and families like ours and Susan’s will continue to live with the pain,” said Victoria and Rami Jabara, sister and brother of Khalid Jabara.

“We need a basic accounting of what is happening with hate crimes, and this bill will go a long way to doing that,” said Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer. “You don’t take your child to the doctor or your car to the mechanic without analyzing symptoms, and we don’t even know all the symptoms of hate crimes. We don’t know how many occur; there are huge gaps as illustrated by Khalid’s death and Heather’s death not being reported.”

“The loss of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara cannot be undone, but we can honor their lives by passing legislation like the NO HATE Act to help prevent future tragedies,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “When I introduced the NO HATE Act in 2016 we had small a handful of cosponsors and supporting groups behind it; now the bill is much better, it’s bipartisan and bicameral, and the support is much stronger. But the problem of hate and extremist violence has also gotten much worse. We need our colleagues to get behind this bipartisan legislation to help law enforcement track, respond, and prevent hate crimes.”

“Hate crimes shatter lives – they shred people’s sense of trust and wellbeing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “I admire so much, so deeply the courage and strength of Susan Bro and Rami and Victoria Jabara in being here. Since the deaths of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara, hate crimes continue to take their toll in America. Americans are saying enough is enough. We are going to fight as long and hard as necessary to make sure that hate crimes reporting is improved, that state prosecutions are aided with grants, and that the provisions of our NO HATE Act are fully implemented.”

“When Congressman Beyer asked me to be an original sponsor of the NO HATE Act my answer was an immediate yes. This bill is bipartisan — it has the support of Republicans and Democrats; the hotline it creates will be a lifeline to help those targeted with violence just for being who they are; and the bill allows us to capture important data on hate crimes so we can better stop them before they happen. America was founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our bill is an important step in helping all Americans realize that promise,” said Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX).

“We must come together to combat the rise of hate crimes in America,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). “I’m encouraged that the NO HATE Act has bipartisan support in the House, and numerous cosponsors in the Senate, but much more work lies ahead. Events like today’s play an important role in educating lawmakers and the public about the scourge of hate crimes and the need to eradicate them. I thank Susan Bro and all who joined us today in this fight. I’m determined to honor the legacy of Heather Heyer, Khalid Jabara, and the victims of hate crimes everywhere with enactment of the NO HATE Act.”

“All Americans should be able to live in peace in their own communities – regardless of their skin color, how they worship, or where they come from,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “That’s why Congress needs to vote on this commonsense bill, which will make it easier to keep an accurate record of hate crimes in this country.”

“The DOJ, the FBI, the nation’s law enforcement agencies, and policy makers all know there is a massive underreporting of hate crimes,” said AAI Executive Director Maya Berry. “It is possible that FBI statistics capture as little as one percent of the hate crimes that occur annually, meaning hundreds of thousands of hate crimes go unreported each year. Behind every missing datapoint is a name, a family, a community. We must say the names, support the families, and elevate the communities of those targeted by hate. Improving our method of hate crime reporting and data collection is the necessary first step. We are indebted to the families of Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, the members of Congress leading this effort, and our civil rights partners. We have collectively worked hard in support of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act because it will get us closer to what Congress set out to do in passing the Hate Crime Statistics Act three decades ago. Now as then, our elected officials—both Democrats and Republicans—must come together to pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act.”

“To fight hate, we must first understand it,” said Anjali Thakur-Mittal, Director, Communities Against Hate Initiative, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “In order to minimize violence against our most vulnerable communities, we must first achieve the reliable collection of accurate data. The bicameral, bipartisan Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act will get us closer to that end by improving our government’s approach to addressing hate. To honor Khalid Jabara, Heather Heyer, and all victims of hate, Congress must pass the Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act now.”

“We have seen an increase in violent hate crimes in this country over the past three years, particularly against LGBTQ people,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “This epidemic of fatal violence has led to the deaths of at least 18 trans people of whom have been killed in 2019, nearly all of them Black trans women. It is critical to understand the entire scope of violence and discrimination facing communities across the country. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would promote better data collection on these crimes, giving us a fuller picture of the scope of this problem to help us end the violence. We thank Senators Blumenthal, Warner and Kaine and Representatives  Beyer and Olson for introducing this critical legislation.”

“The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer Hate Crime Reporting Act is a crucial step forward in addressing the rise in hate crimes over the last several years,” said Manar Waheed, Senior Legislative and Advocacy Counsel of ACLU. “Khalid and Heather were killed exactly one year apart—Khalid at the hands of someone with a long history of harassment and attacks against him and his family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Heather during the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the summer of 2017. Although their cases were prosecuted as hate crimes, law enforcement did not report either Khalid’s or Heather’s deaths in federal hate crimes statistics, a failure for which there is no greater indication of the need to improve our hate crimes reporting. This bill as an important step towards understanding the scope of this violence and honoring the legacy of those that have been lost. Without an understanding of the problem, we cannot begin to address it or improve the safety of all communities.”

“As religious minorities, as people of faith, and as Americans, Muslims and Jews know that hate is like a fire set in the woods; when one tree is targeted all are in danger of setting ablaze. To extinguish the conflagration of hate crimes in this country each victim must count and all must be counted—the NO HATE Act gets us there,” said Dr. Ari Gordon of AJC and the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.   

Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, and Haifa Jabara, mother of Khalid Jabara recently made the case in the New York Times for passage of this legislation named after their children. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would help close enormous gaps in hate crime statistics and improve the response to hate crimes by local, state, and federal law enforcement.