Illinois Mobilizes Against Hate: Wiesenthal Center Press Briefing With Government and Community Leaders on Recently Passed Landmark Anti-Hate Crimes Bills

Global human rights and anti-hate organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center invites press and community leaders to join as legislators, government legal experts and representatives of the Muslim, Jewish, African-American, Latino and LGBT communities describe the importance and expected impact of the recently passed anti-hate crimes bill (HB2390) sponsored by State Representative Stephanie Kifowit.

The bill, crafted in response to an alarming rise in hate crimes in the past year, allows for civil suits by victims against those who have committed hate crimes, enabling them to seek additional damages. It requires those who have committed hate crimes to perform community service and enroll in intensive educational programs involving the particular community group impacted by their crime. The legislation, which will be detailed for press at the event, will help law enforcement and community groups around Illinois combat the rise in hate crimes impacting multiple groups. Companion newly passed hate crimes legislation (HB3711) will also be outlined by the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

11:30 AM Thursday, June 15th

Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest Office, 180 N. Lasalle St, Suite 3700, Chicago, IL.

Leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Latino, African-American and LGBT communities will briefly share information and perspective on hate crimes against their own communities and explain why the newly passed legislation is important to reducing hate crimes in Illinois. Interviews available with participants and those victimized by hate crimes.

Karyn Bass Ehler, Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau, Illinois Attorney General’s Office
Caitlyn McEllis, Public Interest Counsel, Illinois Attorney General’s Office
State Representative Stephanie Kifowit: House Sponsor of HB2390
Sadia Covert, Attorney and activist with Islamic Center of Naperville – Sadia helped conceive legislation following the recent rise in hate crimes locally and nationally
Alison Slovin, Midwest Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center
LaShawn Ford, State Representative
Lisa Hernandez, State Representative
Luis Arroyo, Assistant Majority Leader State Representative
Sam Yingling, State Representative
Herald “Chip” Johnson, Jr., Chief of Schools, Chicago Public Schools
Emma Lozano, the Pastor of Lincoln United Methodist Church, which was defaced with violent and racist graffiti. The perpetrator of that attack, also committed similar crimes against the Chicago Loop Synagogue.
Souad Ajjan, a Muslim Syrian Refugee who lives in Chicago and has experienced hate filled language and discrimination because of her background. She notes how women in particular can be targets of violent hate speech.

For more information contact:

Sean Tenner / / (312) 576-8822
Alison Slovin / / (708) 714-0749

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).