Petition Closed
Petitioning State Senator Darrell Steinberg

Urge California to Pass Homeless Hate Crime Law

On May 6, 2010, California's state Assembly voted to add the homeless to the list of groups under hate crime protections.

Hate crime designation would increase the damages available for victims, which is meant to serve as a deterrent to attacks. Just as important would be the message to the homeless community that the U.S. justice system recognizes the plight of people living without reliable shelter.

Violence against the homeless has been on the rise over the last decade. Victims in the news in just the last couple weeks include a homeless man who was set on fire (but lived) while sleeping under a bridge in Virginia, a disabled homeless man who was beaten to death while living in the woods in South Carolina and a Michigan homeless man who lost an eye after he was randomly targeted and shot in the face with a paintball gun. Who will argue that these people were targeted for any reason other than their homelessness?

California's bill now goes to the state Senate for a vote. Tell California's Senate President pro Tem to join in the struggle to protect society's most vulnerable.

Photo credit: stevelyon

Letter to
State Senator Darrell Steinberg
On May 6, California's state Assembly voted to add the homeless to the list of groups under hate crime protections. I strongly urge you to rally your colleagues in the state Senate to pass similar legislation.

Already Maryland and Maine, as well as Washington, D.C., have declared violence against the homeless to be hate crimes. If a state as large and influential as California would do so, advocates in other states would have an easier time pushing for the designation.

Hate crime designation would increase the damages available for victims, which is meant to serve as a deterrent to attacks. Just as important would be the message to the homeless community that the U.S. justice system recognizes the plight of people living without reliable shelter.

Violence against the homeless has been on the rise over the last decade. Victims in the news in just the last couple weeks include a homeless man who was set on fire (but lived) while sleeping under a bridge in Virginia, a disabled homeless man who was beaten to death while living in the woods in South Carolina and a Michigan homeless man who lost an eye after he was randomly targeted and shot in the face with a paintball gun. Who will argue that these people were targeted for any reason other than their homelessness?

Please support your state's most vulnerable citizens by adding homelessness to the list of hate crime protections.