The tragic shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand last week reminds us that Islamophobia, and hate in all its forms, is a present threat to our safety and security. As such it is important to recognize hate when it is acted upon, and call it what it is - a hate crime.
The Washington State House recently passed HB 1732, a bill that would allow hate crimes to be prosecuted as such, and not as “malicious harassment”, which is what they are currently called. The bill also adds “gender identity and expression” to the list of protected classes, increases the circumstances that can be considered a hate crime, raises the maximum punishment, and directs the attorney general to create a hate crimes advisory group.
The State Senate still needs to pass this bill before it becomes law - so call your state senator and tell them to vote yes! Passing this bill will be an important way to support targeted communities and acknowledge the seriousness of any hate crime anywhere.
ACTION: Strengthen Washington’s Hate Crime Statutes
Look up your representatives on the Legislative District Finder at https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/
Or use the Legislative Hotline, 1-800-562-6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 800.833.6388). When you call the hotline, staff will determine who your legislators are, take down your message, and ensure the message is transmitted to your legislator.
You may also sign onto CAIR-WA’s petition supporting this bill here: https://www.votervoice.net/CAIR/campaigns/64431/respond
“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I am calling from [PLACE] to express my support for HB1732, which would strengthen hate crime protections in Washington. I expect my state senator to vote for this bill to support and protect victims and targeted communities.”