On May 20, President Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. The legislation aims to make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels, while also directing the Department of Justice to designate a point person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19 and authorizes grants to state and local governments to conduct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes.
“We at the Matthew Shepard Foundation are inspired by the passage of the COVID-19 hate crime bill, demonstrating that hate based on a person’s actual or perceived race, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability will not be tolerated. This is a historic victory, but let us not forget the many other marginalized communities that are disproportionately victimized by hate, particularly trans people of color. Our hope is that this legislation builds off of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and helps to create a more comprehensive strategy to address hate crimes through community building, prevention efforts, improved reporting and enforcement.” – Judy Shepard