SC state representatives continue to fight for passing of hate crime law
The Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act is named after one of the victims who died in Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Local representatives continue the fight to get a hate crime law in South Carolina.
On Friday, Rep. Wendell Gilliard held a press conference to address the South Carolina Senate ending their session without passing the Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act, which would allow harsher punishments for violent hate crimes in our state.
The Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act is named after former State Senator Pinckney, who was one of the nine victims of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in 2015.
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Blondelle Gadsden, whose sister Myra Thomspon was also one of those nine victims, said they aren’t giving up the fight to get this bill signed into law anytime soon.
“Anything worth having is worth fighting for,” Gadsden said.
Gadsden said she is disheartened that the Senate adjourned before passing this bill, because it’s designed to protect everyone.
“The words behind the bill have meaning in terms of saving lives,” Gadsden said.
However, she said signing the bill into law is the easy part.
“The harder part is to have individuals who are supposed to carry out these laws and these bills to be diligent about doing what they are entrusted to do,” Gadsden said.
Gilliard said he held Friday’s press conference to spread the word that the bill is alive and well after hearing concerns that the bill is now dead.
“I want everybody to understand the fight is not over,” Gilliard said.
He said having a hate crime law in our state will help expedite cases that involve hate crimes and allow those cases to have harsher punishments. People will also be more likely to report hate crimes if a law is in place, he said.
“It is our duty, and just like I said after the tragedy, just like we said after the tragedy, it is our duty for this bill to become law,” Gilliard said.
South Carolina remains one of two states without a hate crimes law.
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