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Reform Jewish Movement Welcomes the Reintroduction of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act

Weinstein: No longer can we tolerate vicious hate crimes while allowing Congress to remain silent on the issue.


Contact:
Alexis Rice or Matthew Soffer 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2003 - In response to today's reintroduction of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, Barbara Weinstein, Legislative Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The reintroduction of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act is an important step in the ongoing fight to enhance basic civil rights protections that have too long been denied to the most vulnerable in our society. The Reform Jewish Movement strongly supports passage of LLEEA and applauds Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) for their leadership on this issue.

As a people who have historically been the target of anti-Semitic hate crimes, we wholeheartedly recognize the need for federal protection for vulnerable groups. Our biblical commandment to "not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" speaks to the very purpose of this legislation: the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act strives to protect all people from the most extreme forms of discrimination based on their God-given identities. The LLEEA would strengthen federal hate crimes statutes by extending protection to include crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation, gender, or disability, and by removing the current requirement that the victim be engaged in a federally protected activity - which has been an unnecessary impediment to justice.

For too long, we have allowed hate-based violence to continue with inadequate means to prosecute perpetrators. No longer can we tolerate vicious hate crimes while allowing Congress to remain silent on the issue. We strongly urge all members of Congress to support the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, and send the long-overdue message that our nation is past the day when hatred is allowed to flourish.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .



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