Pelosi Statement on the 12th Anniversary of Historic Hate Crimes Legislation

October 28, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement commemorating the 12th anniversary of the signing of the historic Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

“Twelve years ago, our nation made historic progress when, after decades of relentless activism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act finally became the law of the land.  Forged in anguish after the brutal murders of Matthew and James, this landmark law stands as a pillar of civil rights: ensuring justice for the millions of Americans at risk of violence simply for who they are, where they are from, how they pray or who they love.

“The Hate Crimes Prevention Act represents a momentous milestone on the long journey toward justice, alongside the Civil Rights Act of 1964, repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the Obergefell decision.  While with these actions our nation has taken important strides, there remains more work ahead to finally end the scourges of racism, homophobia, transphobia and bigotry.  Sadly, the dark forces of hate threaten to turn back the clock on hard-won civil rights: from cynical state legislatures banning transgender youth from playing sports to ever-present discrimination in our economy, and more.

“Today, Democrats are proudly carrying on the fight for liberty and justice for all.  Building on this law’s progress, the Democratic Congress enshrined into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in May, which empowers state and local governments with the resources to prevent and prosecute heinous hate crimes.  And we will not relent until our House-passed Equality Act is finally enacted so that we can make real the promise of full equality for the LGBTQ community and every American.  As we commemorate this anniversary, let us vow to continue to tear down barriers to justice, root out hatred wherever it takes hold and build a fairer future for generations to come.”