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Web Edition of
The Ragged Edge
Jan/Feb 1998

Electric Edge

Disability included in Hate Crime legislation
Hate crime stories sought for report

As a bill to include disability in the federal hate crimes law is introduced in Congress, efforts are underway once again to document hate crimes against persons with disabilities.

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (lead sponsors include Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.) would also include sexual orientation and gender in the list of those against whom hate crimes are committed. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability are currently not against federal law and cannot yet be investigated and prosecuted by the Justice Department the way other hate crimes are currently combated. The new legislation would change this.

Illustration: Man walking To document the need for this legislation -- and to prepare for future court challenges -- The National Organization for Women Action Center is looking for "reports or surveys issued by advocacy groups" documenting hate crimes; "anecdotal information may also be helpful, if it contains documentation such as names, dates, specific details of the incident/response, and investigation or court results," says the group. Send materials -- as soon as possible -- to the NOW Action Center, 1000 16th St., N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036, Attn: Barbara Hays. Phone: (202) 331-0066; (785-8576 fax).


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