On August 13th, the day after the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist agitation in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead, North Carolina State Senator Jay Chaudhuri, called on the state General Assembly to sign the proposed Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in the legislature’s next session from January to July.
The bill would create a dedicated database for hate crimes at the State Bureau of Investigation, broaden North Carolina’s hate crime statute’s scope, and mandate training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors in North Carolina, a press release from the General Assembly said.
According to Chaudhuri, the bill was only the first step, and woud not eliminate all hate groups and violent rhetoric, but “this legislation signals to businesses across the country and the world that [North Carolina is] a welcoming state, a state that recognizes that… diversity is [its] greatest strength, not [its] weakness.”
Another press release issued by the North Carolina General Assembly affirmed the widespread support for the bill from national civil rights organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).
Lane Pickett, spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center was quoted in the release as saying that the act was “a step in the right direction for North Carolina…after the 2016 presidential election, we saw an increase in hate and bias incidents across the country. In the first ten days after the election, for example, we documented 876 election-related hate incidents…by standing up for our neighbors we send a clear message that our communities won’t tolerate hate crime.”
In the South Asian community in North Carolina, there was similar assent.
Bhaskar Venepalli, chairman of North Carolina Indian American Political Action Committee, said his organization “supports this hate crime bill as we believe any form of hate crime is unhealthy for our community in particular and our state and country in general.”