Pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act
Posted by Tess Waggoner on August 11, 2019 at 1:51 PM
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the deaths of two victims of hate crime.
Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer were killed on the same day, August 12, one year apart: Khalid, in 2016, standing on his front doorstep in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Heather, in 2017, marching peacefully in Charlottesville, Virginia. While the devastating murders of Khalid and Heather were prosecuted as hate crimes in state and federal court, respectively, neither was reported in official hate crime statistics.
These omissions underscore the systemic issues with underreporting in our official hate crime data. The families of Khalid and Heather have channeled their tragic loss into advocacy to improve policies so that no other family has to experience what they did. Both families support legislation named in honor of the two, the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act (S.2043) and its House companion (H.R.3545).
Discussing the bill at the time of its introduction, AAI Executive Director Maya Berry said:
“We have worked with the families of both Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer to advance these efforts in Congress and promote a better understanding of hate crime in our communities. We are grateful for their support and inspired by their strength. Alongside these brave families and impacted communities across the country, we call on Congress to pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act.”
Like the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law ten years ago this October, the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act centers the names of two hate crime victims whose stories demonstrate the need for a legislative response. Regarding the introduction and the name of the bill, the family members of Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer made the following statements.
Statement of Rami Jabara, Khalid’s brother:
“After Khalid was killed, our family released a statement expressing that his death was not just another murder to be added to crime statistics, that the circumstances surrounding his death laid bare the need for a better response from law enforcement and the justice system. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have assumed his death would be there reflected in the data, despite how straightforward that may have seemed. Congress must pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act. No family should be subjected to what we endured and victims’ voices should be heard.
Statement of Susan Bro, Heather’s mother:
“Everyone knows my daughter’s name. Heather is everywhere—in the news, in our minds, in our hearts—but she’s not in the data, nor are the 35 people who were injured while marching alongside her in Charlottesville. If such a despicable act of hatred is not reflected in hate crime statistics, think of everything else that might be missing. The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act is an important bill that will improve our response to hate crime, and I call on Congress to support this effort."
The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act has already received endorsements from a broad coalition of leading civil rights organizations: https://twitter.com/AAIUSA/status/1144629632643325952
Recent AAI Press Statements on Hate Crime
- Statement: AAI Welcomes Introduction of Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act
- Statement: House Hearing on Hate Crime Becomes a Platform for Hate (April 2019)
- Statement: AAI Testifies at Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (March 2019)
- Statement: AAI Testifies in Support of Maryland Hate Crime Training Bill (February 2019)
- Statement: Hate Crimes Continue to Surge in U.S. (Nov. 13, 2018)
In the Media
- CNN -“FBI Stats on hate crime are Scary. So is what’s missing,” (Nov. 14, 2018), Maya Berry and Kai Wiggins, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/14/opinions/fbi-hate-crimes-data-whats-missing-berry-wiggins/index.html.
- Maya Berry, “Charlottesville won’t show up in federal hate crime stats,” Washington Post (Sept. 21, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/09/24/charlottesville-wont-show-up-federal-hate-crime-stats.
- Hannah Allam and Talal Ansari, “Here’s Why The FBI Report Didn’t Consider The Charlottesville Violence A Hate Crime,” Buzzfeed News (Nov. 14, 2018), https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hannahallam/fbi-hate-crimes-charlottesville-heather-heyer-portland.
Hate Crime Resources from AAI
- AAI #JabaraHeyerNOHATEAct resource page: https://www.aaiusa.org/jabara-heyer-nohate-act
- One Page Overview of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act (PDF)
- AAI Issue Brief: Improving the Federal, State, and Local Response to Hate Crime Counteracting Threats to Our Communities (April 2019) (PDF)
- Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans (July 2018)(PDF)
- Written Statement of the Arab American Institute: Submitted to the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism” (April 2019)
- Blog: “Knowing the Full Set of Symptoms: Hate Crime Data Collection and Reporting (June 6, 2019)
- Blog: Remembering Khalid Jabara, Advocating Change (Aug. 10, 2018)
- Blog: New Data Show Continued Surge of Hate Crime, Anti-Arab Incidents, Nationwide (Aug. 8, 2018)
Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. Our report, Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans 1991-2016, identifies target areas for improvement and provides state-based recommendations. Complete with ratings for each state based on its overall response, this resource guide can be used to empower readers throughout the United States to advocate for a better response to hate crime in their communities. For more information please visit aaiusa.org