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'Caravan of Love' traveling Sunday from Charleston to Columbia to back SC hate crime bill

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In the blue light from a police car blocking the street, Samantha Rodriguez places a Black Lives Matter sign at the front of Emanuel AME Church on the five-year anniversary of the shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2020, in Charleston. File/Gavin McIntyre/Staff

An effort to pass a state hate crime bill in the General Assembly will be in Charleston on Sunday and is expected to draw an assortment of vehicles under the heading "Caravan of Love (Not Hate)."

The group will assemble at Emanuel AME Church at noon before driving to Orangeburg and then to the Statehouse in Columbia.

South Carolina is one of three states without a hate crime statute at the state level.

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, said he expects local community and faith leaders, along with car and motorcycle clubs, to take part.

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The group supports legislation that would create harsher penalties for anyone who commits crimes based on race, faith, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

One bill that advanced in May to the House Judiciary Committee called for an added 15-year sentence and $10,000 fine for anyone convicted of a labeled hate crime.

Arkansas and Wyoming are the only other states without hate crime laws.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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