Rally in support of hate crimes bill at The Commons today

Columbus community, business and religious leaders will hold a rally this afternoon urging state legislators to reinstate protected classes in the state’s proposed hate crimes legislation.

Under the Columbus Speaks banner, the advocates will include:

  • Mark Osowick, Vice President, Human Resource Operations, Cummins Inc.
  • Mayor Jim Lienhoop
  • John Budd, Vice President, Physician Enterprise, Columbus Regional Health
  • Chris Raaf, Vice President, Hospital Operations, Columbus Regional Health
  • Rev. Nic Cable, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus
  • Mike Leppert, Indiana Forward

The state legislature had been pushing forward with a hate crimes bill that protected groups from crimes committed because of the victim’s . race; ethnicity; religion; national origin; sex; disability; gender identity; and sexual orientation. But the Indiana Senate stripped the protected classes from the proposed hate crimes law before sending it to the Indiana House. That gutted the bill according to advocates.

The Indiana Forward coalition is urging legislators to pass a bias crimes law that allows judges to enhance criminal sentences when the crime was motivated by bias toward a victim’s characteristics. The group says that Hoosiers deserve to feel safe where they live and work, and the state has a responsibility to prevent crimes of hate from happening in their community.

That rally will be at 3:30 p.m. today at The Commons.