CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Congressman Jim Clyburn did a lot of work nationally after the Mother Emanuel AME Church murders six years ago and he spoke with the Charleston Jewish Federation on Hate Crime legislation and its impact on their community.
“Jews are vigilantly aware of the need for hate crime legislation that provides enhanced penalties for crimes perpetrated in the name of hate,” says Ilene Turbow, with the Jewish Federation of Charleston.
Jewish leaders spoke out to Congressman Clyburn responding on the anniversary of the hate-fueled attack at the “Tree of Life” synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Leaders say this killing at a place of worship hits close to home in Charleston, after the incident at Mother Emmanuel AME Church.
“I think about Emmanuel, the night that that took place. I think that those issues surrounding Emmanuel and the Tree of Life indicate that congress has to do something,” says Representative Clyburn.
The Jewish Federation of Charleston says they want answers on the next steps of helping stop hate crimes that happen locally, statewide, and across the nation. Congressman Clyburn has worked on hate crime legislation on a national scale, but it’s never been able to make its way through the senate.
“The forces outside the elector process are the forces that are going to take to solve this problem,” he says.
Congressman Clyburn says he’ll continue to fight to close the Charleston Loophole, which would mean stricter background checks for gun owners. He hopes with one more session in congress, his legislation could finally become law to bring security for the Jewish community and for all people.
“I’ll pass it in the next session and will reintroduce it again in the next congress and as long as I’m here. I am going to work to get the Charleston Loop Hole Bill until it’s closed, so if they want to stop dealing with it they ought to go and pass it,” Congressman Clyburn says.
South Carolina is only one of two states without a hate crime law. There have been several proposed bills in the state, but none of them have made it to law.