Daily, we try and keep you, our loyal Instinct readers and web surfers, entertained and distracted from your otherwise boring, stressful or blah lives. But every now and then, we gotta get a little serious and call on your help.
Over the next three days, April 27-29, the Human Rights Campaign, with support from other advocacy and rights groups, is asking for you, me and all those in your circle of family, friends and acquaintances to pick up the phone and call Congress. And call again. And again.
Jot this down: 202-224-3121
No, we’re not calling to talk shop with Barney Frank or discuss beauty secrets with Barbara Boxer (she really does look amazing, though!). Every single one of us needs to call in and express our support for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
You’d think that having laws to protect those involved in hate crimes would pass with little debate, but unfortunately, and now all too commonly, conservative and religious groups are flooding Congress with calls, e-mails and lies, equating hate crime protections with infringing on religious freedoms, and basically just continuing to further the big, gay, scary agenda.
But this isn’t even just “a gay issue.” A hate crime is committed every hour in the U.S. and the victims are people of color, people of faith, disability, nationality and sexual orientation.
Right now, hate crime protections vary drastically state-by-state, some non-existent, and there is no federal law requiring state’s to report hate crimes, which many say leads to major underreporting.
This Act will not only give the Justice Department authority to aid, investigate and prosecute hate crimes when needed (as in some counties in this country often turn a blind eye to such violent crimes and refuse to attach the hate crime charge), but the Act will also make grant money available for states and communities to curb hate crime numbers via education and outreach and train officers to better handle said situations.
So, pick up the phone and say the following to Congress:
• Hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise. One out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim's sexual orientation.
• Hate crimes have more than one victim. They are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities.
• The Matthew Shepard Act targets only violent acts—not speech. It does not tell any clergy member what he or she can or can't preach.
The call will literally take one minute, but it could lead to protections to save someone’s life.
For more on the Act and other ways to make sure your voice is heard, check out FightHateNow.