“Whites Only” – racism & prejudice still exist…even in Virginia

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Signs, such as the one displayed on the right, that display “Whites Only” demonstrate how prejudice and racism still exist, even cosmopolitan Virginia.

The FBI recently released its 2009 Hate Crimes Statistics. This report includes metrics for hate crimes across the nation. It also has a state-by-state breakdown. In 2009, there were 6,604 incidents of hate crimes reported. This was down from 2008. Out of these 6,604 incidents, there were 8,336 victims and this number has also gone down. These victims can be individuals, businesses or institutions.

Virginia had 150 alleged crimes reported. The “whites only” picture above is not a hate crime, however it reflects a prejudice that can seriously damage a person’s ability to live, work and educate themselves in a neighborhood of their choosing. These numbers from the FBI’s hate crimes report highlight how prejudice and racism still exist. These crimes deny people freedom and opportunity to build a life of their choosing. As the numbers show, these incidents happen in Virginia. A few shocking examples of hate crimes across America include:

three men were indicted in New Mexico for assaulting a disabled Navajo man; one individual was sentenced for putting a hangman’s noose on the house of a Honduran immigrant in Louisiana; and another man was sentenced for burning a predominately African-American church in Massachusetts.

This is a sober reminder that we must continue to be vigilant to protect the rights, freedoms and opportunities granted to all in a free society. That is why HOME’s work protecting every Virginian’s right to live in a place of their choosing continues to be important and necessary in the 21st Century.

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