DEMAND BETTER HATE CRIMES DATA IN NEW YORK STATE
In New York, laws that are designed to protect vulnerable communities could in fact be harming them.
Criminal penalties for hate crimes exist to prevent discrimination, harassment and violence against LGBTQ people, people of color and other marginalized communities. But because the criminal justice system is inherently flawed due to systemic oppression and bias, these communities often experience unfair treatment that leads to disproportionate levels of criminalization, arrests, sentencing and imprisonment. (Source 1, Source 2)
That is why we are urging New York State to collect and report more demographic information about people involved in hate crimes, so that policymakers can create comprehensive, effective solutions to stop hate crimes—without harming the people hate crimes laws are supposed to protect.
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All New Yorkers deserve to live without fear of violent bigotry and hatred. But when hate crimes are committed against LGBTQ and other communities in New York, collecting the full demographic information about who the victims are and who is being accused of the crime is critical. As long as this information is missing, our state loses an important opportunity to get the full picture on hate crimes, including how best to support victims and prevent hate crimes from happening.
Furthermore, without detailed information about how hate crimes penalties actually work, it’s easier for them to be misused. This means, for example, that members of the LGBTQ community can be wrongfully prosecuted and incarcerated for allegedly targeting non-LGBTQ people with a “hate crime” for being straight, as was the case in 2006 when four black, gay women were sent to jail for defending themselves against a straight man who harassed them in New York City. (Source)
With levels of hate crimes continuing to rise, it is vital that we gather accurate information to clarify who the perpetrators and victims of such crimes are.
That’s why we need your support for A8070, a bill that would require New York State to collect data and report on the sexual orientation, gender identity and racial or ethnic identity of victims and alleged perpetrators of hate crimes. This legislation is a significant step toward increasing transparency and building trust.
This petition was created by The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center) and will be delivered to New York State legislators. For more information about The Center’s RiseOut advocacy initiative, and to learn how you can get involved, visit gaycenter.org/advocacy.