Philadelphia, PA – November 1, 2018 – Today Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District) introduced legislation defining categories of persons protected from hate crimes in the City of Philadelphia joined by his fellow Councilmembers Blondell Reynolds Brown, Helen Gym, Mark Squilla, Derek Green, Allan Domb, and Al Taubenberger. This new legislation will clarify the consequences for crimes motivated by age, ethnicity, race, religion, or national origin.
Councilman Henon was initially inspired to draft hate crimes legislation after hearing repeated concerns from senior citizens in his district who expressed fears they could be targets of crimes because of their senior citizen status. Currently, there is not any provision under state or local code which makes the targeting of an individual or groups for a crime based on age a crime in its own right.
This bill also comes after a week of national headlines that highlight the need to protect Philadelphians from hate crimes. Saturday, a gunman entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered eleven people. On Wednesday of last week, two African Americans were murdered in a racially motivated attack. The gunman initially attempted to enter a church.
Councilman Henon is an active supporter of senior groups in his district. He also interacts regularly with groups that represent immigrants and racial, ethnic, and religious minorities – all groups this bill seeks to protect. He has seen first hand the challenges these groups face and the need for the city to be explicit in its commitment to stand up against hate-based crime.
In discussing the importance of this legislation, Councilman Henon remarked, “I’m very aware of the need to protect our seniors – who are the foundation of our community – and other groups who may be made targets. Hate and intolerance have no place in a healthy Northeast or a healthy Philadelphia.”
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who co-sponsored the bill, added, “In the current political climate, it is imperative that we take every legislative action necessary and available to better protect our citizens. By adding further protections and categories, we can assure citizens, no matter their age, ethnicity, race, religion or national origin, that we stand with them, for them, and behind them. Racism, anti-Semitism, ageism, and any other form of hate or violence will not be tolerated in the City of Philadelphia. No person should live in fear of being targeted because of how old they are how, how they look, where they are from, or how they worship.”
Read the bill:
Hate Crimes Draft Final 10-31
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