Thursday, June 02, 2011

P.A.C.E. (People Acting for Change and Equality) sponsors Hate Crimes Forum

An area Hate Crimes Forum Sponsored by P.A.C.E. and presented by the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service will be held Thurs., June 9; Co-sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, Shreveport Mayor’s Office, Shreveport Police Department and Forum for Equality.

The United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) Community Relations Service will present a Hate Crimes Forum open to the public on Thursday, June 9, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 9449 Ellerbe Road. This presentation is sponsored by P.A.C.E. and is co-sponsored by the Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Shreveport Mayor’s Office, and the Shreveport Police Department. Local arrangements are being coordinated by P.A.C.E., based in Northwest Louisiana, and Forum for Equality, a statewide group, supporting a just society in which the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community can lead open, honest, responsible, and safe lives at home and in the workplace.

A member of the Southwest Regional Office of the US DOJ Community Relations Service will facilitate the forum, and representatives from co-sponsoring and local educational and religious organizations will be present.

At the end of 2010, the FBI released statistics on hate crimes reported during 2009. While fewer incidents were reported than in previous years in every category, when considering just violent crimes, anti-gay hate crimes had increased. In addition, anti-gay hate crimes included physical violence significantly more often than crimes against other reported groups.

This increased anti-gay violence hit home in January in Shreveport when a regular patron of a downtown bar was, without any provocation, brutally attacked, based only on his sexual orientation. The Shreveport Police Department charged the attacker with second degree attempted murder and the commission of a hate crime.

All hate crimes are reprehensible. But hate crimes that target groups are directed not just at an individual but are intended to terrorize entire communities. This forum will address what each of us can do to safeguard our community as a whole against such acts of terrorism.

Louisiana hate crimes law protects actual or perceived sexual orientation (RS 14:107.2). The 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act expanded existing U.S. federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or religion and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity.

Contact information

Adrienne Critcher, P.A.C.E. Communications Director

318-869-3930 (home) or 318-393-6556 (cell)

Odessa Sykes, Forum for Equality’s North Louisiana Field Director

318-422-5430 (cell)

1 comment:

Grady Duke said...

Many thanks to ODESSA SYKES N.La.Field Director FORUM FOR EQUALITY local Shreveport resident & accredited movie actress for making this happen. ODESSA SYKES was the POWER PUNCH behind this Hate Crimes forum. Forum for Equality and p.a.c.e. were co-sponsors. Jason Ray Smith who was threatened by a co-worker at TACO BELL BOSSIER CITY also spoke about being threatened to be taken out to the corn field & have the gay beaten out of him. This is now being investigated by FBI & US Dept. of Justice as a HATE CRIME. Thanks Jason Ray Smith for standing up and speaking out.