Posted by Tess Waggoner on June 27, 2019 in Blog

The Arab American Institute (AAI) welcomes the introduction of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, which would promote more accurate hate crime data collection and assist hate crime victims and their communities. The bill represents the efforts of a broad coalition determined to improve the federal, state, and local response to hate crime, and is named after Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, two victims whose murders were prosecuted as hate crimes but not reported in official hate crime statistics.

The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and its House companion was introduced by Representatives Donald Beyer (D-VA) and Pete Olson (R-TX).

In a statement regarding the Senate introduction of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act and its House companion, AAI Executive Director Maya Berry said the following:

“Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer were killed on the same day, August 12, but one year apart: Khalid, in 2016, on his doorstep in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Heather, in 2017, on a crowded street in Charlottesville, Virginia. While their murders were prosecuted as hate crimes, neither was reported in official hate crime statistics.

These omissions demonstrate the need for improved hate crime reporting and data collection. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Blumenthal and Durbin, and Congressmen Beyer and Olson, for introducing this important legislation."

The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act will incentivize state and local authorities to adopt effective hate crime policies and data collection practices, which will help ensure that law enforcement are prepared to respond to hate crime and serve their communities. The Act will also require the Justice Department to study the relationship between these policies and practices and the participation of law enforcement agencies in the national hate crime reporting and data collection system. Furthermore, the Act will also create incentives for state and local governments to provide meaningful assistance to hate crime victims.

Click here to access a downloadable one page brief on the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act.

Discussing the name of the bill, Berry continued:

“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 10 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."


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