The Sacred Cow

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Rally For Hate Crime Legislation Planned in Terre Haute

Supporters of hate crime laws will gather on the steps of the Vigo County Courthouse Thursday evening for a peace rally sponsored by the Greater Terre Haute NAACP.

"In the wake of a recent string of hate crimes that have occurred in our community, the NAACP wishes for citizens of the Terre Haute community to stand united against hate in our community and urge the Terre Haute City Council to pass a resolution urging state lawmakers to pass a hate crimes bill that would punish perpetrators who commit criminal acts against individuals because of their race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, sexual preference, etc.," the chapter said in a release, as quoted by the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.

Among the recent events include paintings of swastikas at the Allen Chapel AME Church and at aThai restaurant, the Trib-Star reported. The City Council is set to pass a resolution the day of the rally.

Indiana, as outrageous as it sounds, is one of five states without hate crime legislation on the books. The others are: Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and... Wyoming. That's even after what happened to Matt Shepard. I would say it's ludicrous, but there's nothing laughable about this.

"I hope everybody in Terre Haute will be there - everybody who is concerned about the hate in this community, I want them to speak out against the violence and let it be known that we support hate crimes legislation," said A. Theressa Byrum, the chapter's president. "This is an opportunity for everybody who wants to put two cents worth in to let the legislators know that it is time for there to be legislation in the state."

City Council President Todd Nation, a Democrat, hopes legislation will curb further incidents.

"This is just one small awareness-raising action - what I really hope will happen is that it will be addressed at the state level and that it will put some consequences in place for people who engage in this activity."

We touched on hate crimes today in Sunday School. If only they had gone the way of the dinosaur and we could read about them in history books, not the newspapers. Someone who violates another person because they are a different color or are gay, whatever, is someone without a soul or a heart.

This resolution will pass. There's too much support for it to die on the council floor. And we can only hope that the Statehouse will care enough to pick up the baton.

However it's done, we must Erase the Hate.



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