By Kevin Vo
On June 28, 2019, the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and its House companion was introduced by Representatives Donald Beyer (D-VA) and Pete Olson (R-TX). This bill aims to promote more accurate hate crime data collection and assist individuals impacted by a hate crime. In response to the increasing surge in hate crimes over the past few years, this bill also strives to implement and provide training for NIBRS, the latest crime reporting standard, in law enforcement agencies without it; support law enforcement prevention, training, and education on hate crimes; establish hate crime hotlines in every state; and allow judges to require community service or education for perpetrators of hate crimes.
There is an underlying significance of the names honored in the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act. Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer were killed one year apart to the day, August 12: Jabara, in 2016, on his front porch in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Heyer, in 2017, at a peaceful counter-protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both cases were prosecuted as hate crimes and received widespread media attention—yet both were also excluded in the FBI’s official hate crimes statistics. Each incident also serves as a microcosm for our nation’s current problem involving gaps and inaccuracies in federal hate crime statistics, as noted by the Anti-Defamation League. After all, if high-profile hate crimes like the Jabara and Heyer cases were omitted in official hate crime reporting, how can we expect less publicized—yet equally urgent—hate crimes to be reported by law enforcement agencies?
In cooperation with the Hate Crimes Coalition, a task force made up of community and civil rights organizations, the Stop Hate Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is pleased to endorse the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act.
Kevin Vo is currently an undergraduate intern with the Stop Hate Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He is a rising junior at Vassar College studying History, Hispanic Studies, and Italian.