Hate Crimes Rising

June 17 2009, 10:31 AM

angiezapataWith the recent conviction of Allen Andrade for the murder of transgender Angie Zapata (pictured) still fresh on the minds of many, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released a report concluding that hate crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people rose slightly in Colorado and are up from 1999 numbers around the country (via The Associated Press). Cases reported to the Colorado Anti-Violence Program increased from 118 in 2007 to 121 in 2008, Westword notes, pointing out that only 25 of the 2008 cases were actually reported to police. Across the nation, murders rose to 29 in 2008, a 10-year high. Hate crimes against Latinos, or those perceived to be Latino, also rose--up by 40 percent between 2003 and 2007 in the most recent statistics released by the FBI yesterday (via The Washington Post). The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund blames anti-immigrant rhetoric in the media and extremist groups on the Internet. Meanwhile, citing the recent slayings of an abortion provider in Kansas and a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says new hate-crimes laws should aim to put an end to "violence masquerading as political activism" (via The Associated Press). Focus on the Family Action, the political arm of the Colorado Springs-based evangelical organization, opposes expanding hate-crimes legislation, particularly for the GLBT community, arguing that new laws could impede Christians' freedom of speech.