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Community members respond to Indiana possibly passing hate crime laws

Indiana Legislators are considering passing hate crime laws. Right now, there are only five states nationwide who don't have these laws in effect. Community members share how they would feel protected with these laws.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 6:38 PM

TERRE HAUTE Ind. (WTHI)- Indiana legislators are once again talking about passing a hate crime law.

Right now, Indiana is one of only five states that does not have laws like these in effect.

Those other states include Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

Local business owner Neil Ward said it's time we enact these laws and make a step in the right direction.

"It's really sad that we still live in a society that it is accepted behavior and it is tolerated or you look the other way," said Ward.

He said this kind of attack on someone simply because you don't like who they are is wrong.

Meanwhile, Sylvester Edwards, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said this kind of behavior stems from not knowing other people around you.

"People who don't know fear what they don't know, what they fear they hate and what they hate they try to destroy," Edwards said.

Edwards said right now those people who hate can act freely, and they're told it's okay to be who you are, but not everyone gets to feel that way.

"It's telling other people that how God has made you that you shouldn't be that way, and then people can they can take whatever measures to teach you a lesson for being the way that you are," Edwards said.

Ward said being an openly gay man, he's faced some of these lessons in his lifetime.

"You wake up and you think okay, I have to try and act as normal as the next person. My whole life I've been jumped. I've been beat up. I've been discriminated against. I've had customers come in when I first started doing hair who were uncomfortable just because I was gay," Ward said.

While the laws aren't official yet, Ward said if they're passed it would be the first step in the right direction.

"Having a law on the books that says we've got your back to everyone is not only needed it's necessary, but it's also past due," Ward said.

Indiana lawmakers are set to discuss the push for these laws in January.

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