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The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

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Letters: Hate crime bill should protect all in SC

Hate Crimes-South Carolina (copy)

South Carolina state Rep. Beth Bernstein, D-Columbia, and Rep. Wendell Gillard, D-Charleston, listen to a Senate hearing about a hate crime bill they both sponsored. The Senate is considering the hate crime bill passed in April by the House. 

Over the next few weeks, the South Carolina Senate has the opportunity to make history by passing a comprehensive hate crime bill, H.3620 the “Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act.”

This bill calls for enhanced penalties for crimes committed against individuals and institutions due to a victim’s race, religion, gender, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The House passed a version recently, and we commend them for doing so.

The bill that has been put before the Senate and which will be debated over the next few weeks, however, has been gutted of its core.

Enhanced penalties for “soft” crimes such as vandalism or simple battery are not specifically noted as hate crimes. According to the FBI, 75% of hate crimes are soft crimes. That means writing the slurs on a black church or desecrating the Holocaust Memorial in downtown Charleston with swastikas are not considered hate crimes.

The impact of a hate crime resonates through communities and hurts society as a whole. We all ache with sadness when people are murdered in a place of worship. With the same outrage, we must respond when a transgender woman of color is hurt because of who she is, or a racial epithet is painted on a black family’s home. These crimes inflict the same terror throughout communities.

There are a lot of red herrings being thrown at this bill. We hear cries of how it will hurt free speech, but the truth is that this is an enhanced penalty law.

If you didn’t break a law, this bill doesn’t apply to you. If you did, however, commit an existing crime out of a sense of hate or prejudice toward a fellow South Carolinian, you deserve to be punished.

On behalf of the hundreds of businesses, faith groups, institutions and individuals who have joined the Stamp Out Hate Coalition, we urge the Senate to pass meaningful hate crime legislation that protects all targeted South Carolinians.

Let’s not be the last state to do so.

ILENE TURBOW

Co-Chair, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Charleston

Croghan Spur Road

Charleston

Do your part

I don’t mind cleaning up after litterbugs.

I don’t mind stocking my blessing box with food for those who are hungry.

I don’t mind volunteering to make my community a better place.

COVID-19 has been different because I can’t wear a mask for you. I can’t get the COVID-19 vaccination for you.

Only you can wear a mask and get your vaccination. No one can do it for you.

People can’t preach “herd immunity” while doing zero to help us get there.

It’s the moment when you need to do your part. Will you?

LISA SAVAGE

Fort Johnson Road

Charleston

We need prayer

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With divisions, crime and injustice so rampant among men and nations, I thank all faith leaders in Charleston County and other places for their joint meetings and prayers.

Can at least one hour of prayer for the aforementioned take place across America?

CURTIS INABINETT SR.

Former S.C. representative

Old Jacksonboro Road

Ravenel

Speak up for area

Penn Hagood’s April 28 commentary regarding Bedford Falls vs. Pottersville is thoughtful reading for all.

While she wrote specifically to Sullivan’s Islanders, her writing serves as a call to action for all living in the Lowcountry.

Charleston and its surrounding communities have seen unprecedented growth with the daily influx of new residents.

As such, so many changes and developments have occurred in the name of progress.

But is this progress good for us or simply good for a select politically connected few?

Does the destruction of our trees and green space to provide large-scale housing communities or more storage units resulting in flooding into nearby neighborhoods due to water runoff from the hardscape serve us or simply serve to line the pockets of developers?

We have the power to determine our quality of life.

We do that by thoughtful election of those who will transparently represent us. We also do it by speaking up, staying informed, getting involved.

As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

KATHY ZELLNER

Lazarette Lane

Charleston

Free isn’t free

Since we are paying for everything from cradle to grave, how about free pet health care?

And maybe free lunch and supper for pets.

It wouldn’t add more than a billion dollars or so to the nation’s debt and would be a good way to get more voters to the party that pushes it through.

DONALD PACZYNSKI

Tugboat Lane

Summerville

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