Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Senate Passes Landmark Bill

Victory is herald throughout the nation as the senate approves and passes a hate crime bill inclusive of LGBT folks. Named after Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming native murdered 11 years ago, the Matthew Shepard Act “include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.” The measure was first introduced by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass ten years ago and has been kept under a congressional agenda after failing several times to be passed.

Hate crimes law enacted after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 centered on crimes based on race, color, religion or national origin.

The expansion has long been sought by civil rights and gay rights groups. Conservatives have opposed it, arguing that it creates a special class of victims. They also have been concerned that it could silence clergymen or others opposed to homosexuality on religious or philosophical grounds.

The FBI reports that 16 percent of hate crimes are motivated by sexual orientation, fueling Attorney General Eric Holder’s desire to get the bill passed urgently. “It has been one of my highest personal priorities to ensure that this legislation finally becomes law,” he told the Associate Press.

Read full story here.


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