More than a Crime, It’s A Hate Crime… Now We Can Do Something About It

Over the last ten years, crime has gotten out of hand.  But it comes in a more sinister veil—in the form of a hate crime.  Beatings, lynching, rape, murder… things that most of us cannot even fathom.  So as an American, and more especially a Hispanic-American, what do we think about this?  Yes, yes, horrible, we all share that sentiment.  But what are we ready to do about it?  Sit around?  Let others do our talking?  Allow a vocal and violent minority to set the tone?  Well, obviously local law enforcement is either unwilling or unable to help the hate crime victim (not to put down the great work of many state and local law enforcement officials that do a stupendous job every day!).  The evidence is clear.  Last year, in small town America in eastern Pennsylvania, Latino immigrant Luis Ramirez was beat to death in a racially motivated hate crime, teens yelling ethnic slurs and all.  And though testimony has begun on this case and a settlement seems imminent, the question still stands: what are we going to do about it?  In northern Florida panhandle, where the infamous Deep South still casts a shadow of racism, earlier this year, 2 Chilean students were shot and 3 were wounded in an apparent anti-immigrant hate crime.  The FBI is reporting a nearly 40% increase in hate crimes to Latinos from 2003 to 2008, and the Southern Poverty Law Center now attributes a 48% rise in hate groups across the nation from 2000 to 2007 to the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric as a result of the heated immigration debate in the US.  So what are simple good folks going to do about this epidemic of hate crime that seems to claiming more victims than the Swine Virus?  Congress and about 300 national civil rights organizations are supporting the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 being debated on the House floor just about now!  This act would make it easier for Federal authorities to protect local communities from hate crimes where state law is inadequate or where state and local law enforcement officials are unwilling to protect these victims.  So get involved and support such efforts, because your families and loved ones may be the victims of future hate crimes unless we all stand up and say, “No more!!”




-Rudi  Navarra

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