The FBI has just released its annual report on hate crimes committed in each of the 50 states. New Jersey ranks second in the number of hate crimes across America, behind only California. Like California, we have a very large number of immigrants coming to our state, both documented and undocumented. So, perhaps our environment may be one that is a breeding ground for hate crimes. Not something to be proud of.
This a self-reported statistic, by the way. And not all states may have participated equally. For example Alabama reported only a single hate crime. Georgia reported only 13. And Mississippi, reported that there were no hate crimes at all. Either they under-reported, or they chose not to participate. Although I risk being sued by Fox News for trademark infringement, ---remember the states report, and you decide.
According to the folks at Garden State Equality, one of the problems is that: “New Jersey has not updated its hate crimes law in years. The law was one of the first of its kind in America. But like all pioneering laws, laws in other states have passed New Jersey's in strength and scope. New Jersey's current hate crimes law does not even encompass gender identity or expression.”
Garden State Equality and the New Jersey Anti-Defamation League have worked with legislators and the Attorney General's office to help craft a bill to strengthen the state hate crimes law. The bill adds "gender identity or expression" to our hate crimes law, and strengthens the law in several ways for people of color, for women, etc.