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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 7, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 14
Do something about hate crimes, Maria Cantwell tells Trump
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Do something about hate crimes, Maria Cantwell tells Trump

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington and 12 of her Democratic colleagues are demanding that Donald Trump appoint a presidential task force to address violent hate crimes.

'There has been an alarming rise in hate violence and threats against religious and racial minorities across the United States,' the senators said in their April 4 letter. 'These crimes and threats of violence are unacceptable and are contrary to America's foundational values of tolerance, respect, and freedom of religion.'

In response, the lawmakers ask for a task force that 'would bring together faith leaders, community advocates, federal and local government agencies, law enforcement, and other relevant professionals to analyze the causes behind the rise in hate, identify possible solutions, and to improve access to resources to fight back.'

In their letter, the senators noted specific crimes they wished to bring to Trump's attention:

o Since the beginning of the year, more than 100 Jewish community centers and synagogues received bomb threats.

o In February, two Indian men were shot at an Olathe, Kan., bar after a man reportedly yelled, 'Get out of my country!' One of the men died from his injuries.

o On March 3, a Sikh man standing in his driveway in Kent, Wash., was shot in the arm after a man allegedly yelled, 'Go back to your own country!'

o On March 20, a white man fatally stabbed Timothy 'Hard Rock' Caughman, 66, in New York City. The killer told police that he was specifically targeting Black men.

'We are alarmed at the growing number of hate-related crimes and threats of violence in our country,' the senators added. 'It is important to remember that these statistics represent individual lives and each incident reverberates throughout our communities.'

In 2015, the FBI recorded some 5,580 hate crimes, and in 2016, there were a record-breaking 139 incidents of violence against mosques in the United States.

Besides Cantwell, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) also signed the letter to Trump.

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