The hate crimes resolution that is before the Legislature is being watched by the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) local camps. Many of our members are urging the Legislature to pass this resolution. We are writing to urge the Legislature to vote "yes" on this important legislation. At the ANB and ANS Grand Camp level we are critically aware of the many steps necessary to protect not only the Native rights, but also all Alaska citizens' rights.
Like many other states, Alaska is multi-cultural. Those opposing this legislation argue terminology. The longer this is argued, the more those who are prejudiced and have discriminatory beliefs will continue to think that it is OK because they have the Legislature's blessing on this type of discrimination.
Acts of hatred or prejudice against people based on their real or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or other social groupings cannot be allowed. A hate crime has negative effects that are long lasting. The impacts are emotional, psychological as well as economical. The psychological stress of experiencing a hate crime will require mental services and other forms of professional assistance long after the initial traumatic event. Hate crimes not only attack the individual, but also attack the community that they occur in - the very fabric of our society. Hate crimes intimidate the community, causing isolationism, vulnerability and a feeling of being unprotected.
The Alaska Legislature must take a leadership role in condemning acts motivated by hatred and prejudice. As our representatives the Legislature must protect our citizens as mandated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Hate crime legislation that expands the jurisdiction and resources for appropriate and effective prevention, as well as prosecution, is essential. The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp urges the Alaska Legislature to face the task before them and implement a just remedy to protect the quality of life for all.
Richard Jackson, president
Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp
Jackie Martin, president
Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp