Target: Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown
Goal: Applaud council’s decision to pass hate crime policy
With statewide legislation to acknowledge LGBT hate crimes stalled, Philadelphia’s City Council has taken a bold step towards punishing those who violently target individuals because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status by passing a hate crime ordinance. A previous Force Change petition encouraged Pennsylvania to acknowledge crimes against such individuals as being motivated by extreme and violent biases. The decision comes just months after a vicious anti-gay assault in Philadelphia’s city center put two men in the hospital with near-life-threatening injuries.
The city council unanimously passed an ordinance that would enforce elevated punishments for violent attacks based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The state’s hate-crime statute was virtually non-existent; the assailants involved in the aforementioned crime were only charged with aggravated and simple assault. Today, hate crimes will result in jail sentences of up to 90 days and fines of up to $2,000.
This new policy, however victorious, is clearly a partial response to the vicious anti-gay attack, which saw more than a dozen people hurling anti-gay epithets and physically assaulting the gay couple in the gay-friendly city center neighborhood. Pennsylvania, despite the new policy, is still the only state in the Northeast that lacks a concrete hate crime law.
Nonetheless, Philadelphia’s Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown deserves to be praised for her efforts in the fight for LGBT rights, equality, and protection. Sign this petition to thank her for this valorous act.
Dear Councilwoman Brown,
Following the vicious beating of a gay couple in Philadelphia, I was shocked to discover that Pennsylvania’s hate-crime statute was nonexistent. Not only would the assailants involved not be charged with a hate crime, but they faced being jailed for as little as one year. Needless to say, as an LGBT activist, I was outraged.
It has recently come to my attention that the city council of Philadelphia, home to more than 40,000+ lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans individuals, has passed a groundbreaking ordinance that enforces stricter punishments and consequences for those who violently discriminate against others solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. I thank you, wholeheartedly, for your empathy and for recognizing that the LGBT community of Philadelphia truly needs legal protection.
The attack that happened in Philadelphia’s city center was heartbreaking and simply unforgivable, but at least Philadelphia’s LGBT population can rest assured knowing that any future attacks will be prosecuted to the full extent of this new policy. Thank you so much for your efforts in the fight against LGBT violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bazi via Wikimedia