WASHINGTON - HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement in response to the four men who assaulted singer/entertainer Kevin Aviance in a violent anti-gay attack in June 2006 pleading guilty to hate crime and other assault charges in a New York court on Wednesday.
"Kevin's attack in Manhattan last June was a sad and telling reminder that members of our community remain vulnerable to senseless acts of violence just because of who they are. His story proves that even those who live in our nation's most urban and progressive areas are not immune to being targeted for hateful, anti-gay violence.
"We applaud the state of New York for having hate crimes laws in place to help prevent and combat these acts of terror. Kevin's courage and strength in the face of his attack only motivates us to increase our urgency in passing enhanced national hate crimes legislation this year."
On March 20, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The LLEHCPA enhances current federal hate crimes laws by giving the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The Human Rights Campaign hailed the bill's introduction and joined with more than 210 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations actively supporting its passage.
Kevin Aviance was profiled in HRC's 2007 Black History Month salute. For more information go to www.hrc.org/blackhistory.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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