Passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act
On Thursday, October 22, 2009, the U.S. Senate passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which strengthens the ability of the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes based on race, color, national origin, and religion and gives the Department the power to prosecute certain hate crimes committed because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender, or disability.
As a member of the coalition pushing for passage of the bill, MALDEF was invited to speak about the significance the bill's passage given the recent increase in hate crimes directed at Latinos. MALDEF Legislative Staff Attorney Claudine Karasik spoke on behalf of MALDEF, alongside Senators Leahy, Levin, Specter, and Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.