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Cornelius News

More than 60 attend ‘Stop Asian Hate’ rally at Town Hall

NC Sen. Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed of Mecklenburg County

March 26. By Dave Yochum. More than 60 people turned out in a downpour for the Stop Asian Hate Peaceful Rally at Town Hall last night, including NC Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed of Mecklenburg County.

He is one of the sponsors of the proposed Hate Crimes Prevention Act filed in the wake of the killing of eight people, most of them Asian women, in Atlanta earlier this month as well as a spike in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic.

“A critical point of this legislation is not simply about expanding the scope of hate crimes or punitive measures, but it’s also about the necessary and critical investment in law enforcement agencies to assist with properly identifying, responding to and reporting hate crimes,” said Mohammed, who drove from Raleigh to attend the rally.

He was one of several speakers at the rally which was moved inside because of the storm.

4,000 violent incidents in one year

Event organizer Pam Jones of Unity in Community North Mecklenburg said the fatal attacks in Atlanta were an example of  violence against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and “another example of White Supremacist violence and terror against people of color.”

Pam Jones of Unity in Community

“Over the past year alone, according to the Stop AAPI Hate National Report, there have been nearly 4,000 documented anti-Asian hate incidents nationally,” the Antiquity resident said.

Mayor Woody Washam attended the rally last night as well as members of the Town Board and local clergy.

Senate Bill 209

The bill, which is also sponsored by NC Sen. Natasha Marcus, NC Sen. Valerie Foushee and NC Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, has four components:

—Expand hate crime laws to ensure protections based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and disability

—Add a felony offense to our state’s hate crime framework

—Establish a protocol for collecting hate crime statistics

—Ensure hate crimes training for law enforcement and prosecutors

Similar legislation has been filed in 2018 and 2019 but never received hearings in the GOP controlled legislature.

While this is the third time that we have introduced this bill, I am hopeful that, in light of the recent shootings in Atlanta, our colleagues across the aisle will finally find it in their hearts to bring this bill to the floor and vote to protect our friends and neighbors in North Carolina. No one should live in fear in their own communities. It is far past time that we equip and resource our law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and that we make meaningful strides to build trust and respect across our state.

—NC Sen. Valerie Foushee