Local group, lawmaker calls for hate crimes legislation

One Wabash Valley group continues to push for change. The local NAACP chapter is celebrating a hundred years of service to the greater Terre Haute community. The group is supporting hate crimes legislation.

Posted: Jan. 21, 2019 10:24 PM

TERRE, HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - One Wabash Valley group continues to push for change. The local NAACP chapter is celebrating a hundred years of service to the greater Terre Haute community. The group is also supporting efforts to pass hate crimes legislation.

Chapter President Sylvester Edwards says, "We're talking about civil rights and we're taking about human rights."

Indiana lawmaker John Bartlett was a special guest at Monday night's meeting. He was asked to install a new round of group officers.

Bartlett in a member of the Indiana Legislative Black Caucus. He is one of many lawmakers pushing for hate crimes legislation.

Bartlett says the change is long overdue.

"It didn't seem to get any traction until we had the swastika in Carmel and that's when it began to get some traction."

Right now, lawmakers are looking at different proposals. Some bills include certain groups but exclude others like the LGBTQ community.

Edwards says he hopes any new law is inclusive.

"Encompass everybody; women, men, police officers, children, anybody who gets bullied."

Bartlett says the pressure is on Indiana lawmakers to take action but he is concerned the final product may not be the best version of the law.

"Now that they need to do something, I think we'll get a watered down version and not what we really need for the state of Indiana."

Bartlett and Edwards are calling on voters to take action. They say to call elected leaders and tell them what should be included in hate crimes legislation.

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