Passing Hate Crimes Legislation: Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain

For all of the gains our city and state have made in the effort to create communities that celebrate diversity and difference, there is still much more work to do to ensure that all Hoosiers feel safe where they live and work. We received a painful reminder this summer, when a synagogue in Hamilton County was vandalized with anti-Semitic symbols.

 

Once again, our neighbors were fearful for their safety. Once again, a community was rocked by a heinous act that we once thought could never happen here. And once again, the nation’s eyes were on Indiana – and for all the wrong reasons.

 

“Once again” needs to end now. For our state to be a great place to live, work and raise a family, we must take action to protect all people from crimes of hate.

 

Indiana is one of five states without a recognized, statutory policy for handling such crimes, and our lack of leadership in this regard is coming at a grave cost to our state’s economy and quality of life. Our partners have seen the effects of inaction firsthand – whether it’s a major employer choosing another location for its headquarters or a qualified job candidate taking their talent to states with more hospitable reputations, Indiana is losing its competitive edge.

 

Not only are hate crimes attacks on individuals, they are affronts to the character and values of our entire state — and we need a state-wide response. That’s why United Way of Central Indiana is proud to partner with leaders and advocates in the business, nonprofit, and education sectors to launch the Indiana Forward campaign to advocate for inclusive hate crimes legislation in the 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

 

For more than 100 years, United Way has worked to make our six-county region a great place to live, work and raise a family. We’ve done this by leveraging the compassion of individuals and companies that want to improve the lives of people in our community and connecting their passions with the organizations doing this important work. Because we partner with Indiana’s business community and the nonprofit sector, we are uniquely positioned to advocate on behalf of both. Who better than United Way to address an issue so fundamental to the fabric of our state.

 

Indiana Forward’s message is loud and clear: the time is now to show the world that Indiana is a welcoming and safe place. No longer can we claim to be a great place to live, work and raise a family unless we have a policy that protects all Hoosiers and holds those who are convicted of hate-motivated crimes duly accountable for their actions.

 

Supporting hate crimes legislation isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do – for our people, our communities, and our state. We are encouraged by the broad and bipartisan support that has already been demonstrated by chambers of commerce, major employers and Governor Eric Holcomb. Together, we can send the message that in an increasingly diverse world, Indiana welcomes all.

 

There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by passing hate crimes legislation in Indiana. Join us and take action! Get updates, become an advocate, and share information with your family, friends, and colleagues by visiting IndianaForward.org.  Join our choir singing a song of inclusion for all to hear.