Jacklyn N. Georgia

Hate Crimes

Increasing tension and hostility has affected society and its progress to peace.

Dear Next President,

Hatred and conflict are ruling factors in society. The population is growing, and along with it, diversity. There is a remarkable amount of beliefs and opinions, and it should be appreciated, not shunned. I feel the right to express yourself should be advocated because of the supremacy. Hate crimes are an aspect that is constricting that future.

Hate crimes target minority groups: the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, and people with disabilities are a few examples. Stereotypes and discrimination have contributed to the unfair treatment.

The extent of fear the plagues the less privileged is immoral. Take for example the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, where Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded another 53. Another incident involved 32 year old African-American, Philando Castile. Diamond Reynolds, his girlfriend and witness to his death, told of Castile’s last moments. She reported the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, shot and killed Philando as he was reaching for his ID. These events show even with media response and revolts for justice to take action, prejudice continues to cause suffering. Empowerment is slowly working its way into the voices of the discriminated. I believe through support and help, peace and safeness can prosper. The murder of innocent people due to their complexion or identity should not be lightly condemned. Harsher laws should be put in place to protect the targeted, punish the ones who are blind to the beauty in diversity, and to show victims that they are important.

The law that has most affected how hate-crimes are tried is the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law was passed in 2009, and it allows federal assistance to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. James Byrd, an African-American, was killed by white supremacists. Matthew Shepard, a college student, was brutally beaten and left to die. The hate that surrounds the minds of people to cause them to kill and create chaos is ignorant. No culture, no skin color, race, or orientation is superior to the other.

Hate-crimes have triggered the uprising of movements in the honor of bravery and acceptance. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has united people in a common cause of equality and to speak against police brutality. Pride parades have built an environment of love and self-worth for those who are frightened to witness the reaction of their peers. These events show that even when bitterness has overcome, people are improvising to provide sanctions of friendship and community. With responses that are joining and saving lives, police protection and law enforcement should be abided to help continue movements that are inspiring equality.