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Years of Advocacy Bring Leap Forward in Hate Crimes Law

In October, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act.

On October 28, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, S.909, as part of the fiscal year 2010 Department of Defense Authorization Conference Report. PI-GRO worked diligently in support of this legislation for more than a decade, alongside a broad and focused coalition of civil rights, religious, educational, professional, law enforcement, and civic organizations.  This new law will strengthen the nation’s response to bias-motivated crimes by:

  • Expanding current law to recognize crimes motivated by actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person;
  • Enabling the federal government to address those cases that other jurisdictions are either unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute, while retaining primary responsibility for hate crime prosecution at the state and local level; and
  • Expanding the scope of data collection and reporting requirements regarding hate crime. 

PI-GRO recognizes the tremendous support and advocacy efforts of many APA members and staff on behalf of this legislation over the past decade and looks forward to continuing this work, to ensure appropriate implementation of this new critical law.

Press Release