On Wednesday January 3, at 10 a.m. EST, Anti-Defamation Southeast Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman and Georgia State Representative Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven) launched a campaign to pass hate crime legislation in Georgia. The bill will be pre-filed during the first week of January 2018 and will be formally introduced during the 2018 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly.
Georgia is one of just five states in the nation that does not protect its citizens against hate crimes, leaving victims without legal recourse. As Padilla-Goodman stated:
Hate crimes are different from ordinary criminal activity: the effects of hate crimes are felt well beyond the immediate victim. Hate crimes are felt by entire communities, and when they are not adequately addressed, entire communities feel isolated, disenfranchised, unsafe, and threatened. It is time for Georgia to send a message to hate crime victims and all Georgians that we stand with them and we will make sure that bias-motivated crimes are handled responsibly.
The Anti-Defamation League is leading a coalition of 23 civil rights, religious, and nonprofit organizations in the fight to rectify this. House Judiciary Chair Rep. Wendall Willard, LaGrange Police Chief Louis Dekmar, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Frank Rontondo, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Vernon Keenan, FBI ASAC Matt Alcoke and several representatives from the Coalition for a Hate Free Georgia were present at the event.
The ADL and its Coalition partners stand with the citizens of Georgia in calling on their state legislature to enact this bill.