NCJW Celebrates Signing of Hate Crimes Bill at the White House

October 28, 2009, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today celebrated enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. NCJW President Nancy Ratzan issued the following statement:

"NCJW is proud to join the White House celebration of the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act – a goal we have worked toward consistently since 1997. We are privileged to have co-chaired the key task force on this legislation representing women’s groups and to have delivered the voices and activism of our grassroots. We were honored to join the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. at the White House to commemorate this historic civil rights victory.

"Enactment of this legislation extends federal hate crimes protection to those victimized because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. This expansion of current law will strengthen enforcement by providing federal resources to prosecutors around the country.

"The new law strikes a historic blow against hate and puts the federal government squarely in the battle to ensure that the full spectrum of hate crimes is deemed intolerable in this nation and is vigorously and appropriately prosecuted and punished. It also stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when people organize to do the right thing and persist through years of struggle to make change happen."

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

Emily Alfano
202 296 2588 x5;

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