Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a three-part action plan to combat hate crimes and embrace human rights in New York State, while speaking recently at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Cuomo's plan comes about as a result of the recent spike in hate crimes across the nation following the election - here's what it entails.
Three-Part Plan of Action
State Police Hate Crime Unit
A hate crime is when one of a specified set of offenses is committed targeting a victim because of a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation, when the act is committed as a result of that perception or belief.
A new unit to the state police will be created to assist other agencies in investigating potential hate crimes. The unit will be made up of investigators who have been specially trained as bias crime specialists; some of these individuals have already been involved in recent hate crimes, like the swastikas found in different parts of the state.
Expand New York's Human Rights Law to Protect All Students
Currently, only private school students are protected by the Human Rights law, meaning if a public school student is discriminated against in school, they have no claim. The Human Rights law will now apply to all students.
First-in-the-Nation Immigrant Legal Defense Fund
Cuomo will establish the first public/private legal defense fund to ensure all immigrants have access to representation. This effort will run in cooperation with major colleges and universities, law firms, legal associations, and advocacy organizations.
Reasoning Behind the Plan
In his speech, Cuomo cited the many hate crimes and incidents of intimidation that people of color, immigrants, and others experienced in the wake of the election.
"I wish I could say our beautiful state of New York was immune from this poison, but it's not," he said in his speech.
Cuomo also said: "New York's message is a message of tolerance, brotherhood, and unity. It is not a political message. It is not a Democratic or Republican message. It is not liberal or conservative; it is the Golden Rule that is the bedrock of faith for people around the world."
What do you think of Cuomo's plan?