CHARLESTON, S.C. (WBCD) – With hate crimes affecting communities all over the country, local leaders at the United Against hate rally say now is the time for state lawmakers to pass a hate crimes law.
“Without it South Carolina can continue a shameful tradition apart of our states legacy and we sadly have a history of racial violence,” Brandon Fish, Director of Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Charleston.
Those who knew the Charleston church shooting victims say the bill passed by the state house is crucial.
“I’m a living witness, a testament and testimony that love does transcend hate. Love does conquer hate and it does remind us when we enable love to lift us over the devastation of intentions of hate, we become empowered,” says Reverend Dr. Kylon Middleton at Mt. Zion AME Church.
Believing coming together is a must for some leaders.
“We are a minority when we are divided, but if we come together we are a majority that people would listen to,” says Feidin Santana, an Afro-Latino advocate.
“We have to stay motivated and we have to stay involved. I will say there are some good things happening out there from a policy point of view,” says Mayor John Tecklenburg.
Some hope the governor outlaws hate crimes.
“In our time, at least some of the substantive policy orientated agenda items moving in the direction that advances all human beings,” Middleton says.
South Carolina is one of just 3 states without a hate crimes law.