African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI) Calls for Hate Crimes Legislation
Indianapolis, Indiana, February 16, 2019 – African Americans experience hate crimes more than any other group in this country. According to the most recent FBI statistics available, in 2017 alone 59.6 percent of single bias hate crimes were race and ethnicity based, and 48.6 percent of those victims were African Americans.
In 2017, 21 police departments reported 55 hate crimes in Indiana according to FBI statistics. Of the 55 hate crimes 32 were race and ethnicity based and occurred in the following jurisdictions: Bloomington, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Hammond, Lafayette, Lawrence, Michigan City, Plainfield, South Bend, West Lafayette, Vigo County, Marion County, and Vanderburgh County. The remaining 23 hate crimes due to a victims religion, sexual orientation or disability occurred in Whitestown, Crawford County, Floyd County, Miami County, Monroe County, Posey County, Scott County and Washington County.
Hate crimes in Indiana happen in urban, suburban and rural counties.
The African American Coalition of Indianapolis believes it is dangerous for good people to be silent in the face of evil and not stand united with others when actions are taken to terrorize individuals, or an entire community, based on who they are or who or how they worship. When people go beyond the freedom of all citizens to think, vote, protest and otherwise express their views but participate in physical attacks, deface property or otherwise take action meant to intimidate, degrade and signal that an entire community of people are potential targets of attack, they have gone too far; their actions thus become those of a terrorist.
Indiana is one of only 5 states without a hate crimes law. We note that 45 other states have figured out how to defend their citizens victimized by hate crimes. We are concerned that out of the 482 police departments across Indiana only 162 report hate crimes to the FBI in addition, most police personnel also lack the training to properly identify hate crimes. While judges can consider various factors in determining sentencing for crimes involving hate, there currently is no standard for hate crimes laws in the Indiana criminal code.
We are pleased that in his State of the State Address, Governor Holcomb again repeated his support for hate crimes legislation. We are also grateful for those legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle who have voiced their support for hate crimes legislation. We hope more legislators from both parties will lend their support to a hate crimes bill that recognizes the history of bigotry and hate targeted at the immutable characteristics of citizens in Indiana. We call for passage of a clean bill that affirms Indiana will no longer remain ambiguous on the prosecution of hateful acts against individuals or groups of individuals based on their perceived or actual color, age, disability, national origin, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. They will join the 65% of Hoosiers who already agree hate crimes legislation should pass during this legislative session.
It is an idea whose time has come. Indiana can no longer afford to be late on this mandate.
100 Black Men of Indianapolis
Alpha Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha
Center for Black Literature and Culture
Circle City (IN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League
Greater Indianapolis NAACP Branch 3053
Indiana Black Expo
Indiana Minority Business Magazine
Indianapolis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Indianapolis Urban League
Indy Black Chamber of Commerce
Interdenominational Ministers Alliance
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., Alpha Alpha Omega Indianapolis Alumni Chapter
IPS Racial Equity Office
Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Indianapolis Chapter
Marion County Bar Association
National Coalition of 100 Black Women Indianapolis Chapter
National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section
Top Ladies of Distinction Inc. Indianapolis Chapter