Faith Communities & Hate Crime Protection
Faith Communities and Hate Crime Protection Event
On September 19th, 2017, the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) invited David Sklar, the Director of Government Affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), to educate community members about the obstacles preventing hate crime protection legislation to pass in Indiana. Sklar also explained the extent to which current events have played a role in gaining or losing legislative support, and how getting hate crime protections legalized has been a recurring endeavor of many stakeholders for twenty years.
According to Sklar, the endeavor to legalize hate crime protections has spanned for twenty years, but extensive conversations on hate crime legislation began approximately three years ago, shortly after the JCRC extended their involvement in advocacy and educational outreach. Sklar explains that the main challenges many proponents had lied mostly with misconceptions about what hate crime protections guarantees, and the lack of resources that many proponents of hate crime protections have in extending grassroots advocacy across the state. Sklar ended the talk with suggestions for faith communities to engage and educate their congregations, and to reach out to anyone they knew outside of Central Indiana.
After David Sklar’s presentation, the attendees and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation started a discussion on how faith communities can put the knowledge and suggestions gained from Sklar into practice. Overall, the consensus was that faith leaders and communities can be instrumental in encouraging people to see “the other” as human beings through a variety of avenues. One attendee supported the idea to start encouraging faith community members to get more involved in advocacy work, while another supported the idea of clergy writing letters to editors of local media. Another attendee mentioned it would be better to invite experts to houses of worship to share information and “drive the point home” for congregants who are skeptical or simply do not know the context of the debates taking place.