Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are joining 19 social justice and civil rights organizations to call for more reporting of hate crimes in the US.
At a press conference touting her support of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act currently before the U.S. Senate, Healey said prosecutors and law enforcement don’t know enough about crimes motivated by hate towards someone’s race, gender, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics.
“Right now, hate crime reporting remains voluntary under federal law. And we know that too many communities across this country under-report. We simply can’t attack this problem without calling it by its name,” Healey said.
The act would provide grant funding for states to upgrade to new crime-reporting standards that would make it easier to track hate crimes.
“We cannot let this moment pass by. We need to demand action now,” Walsh said before a conference call that included supportive groups such as the New England chapter of the American Jewish Committee, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, Lawyers for Civil Rights, MassEquality, the Commonwealth Seminar and the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.
“We need to make sure this information is collected and that all law enforcement agencies consistently report hate crime incidents into the national system,” Healey said.
Massachusetts already participates in the program that the pending legislation would establish as a national standard.
The bill would also add police training and reporting hotlines while coordinating public education efforts with affected communities.