Legislation Includes $60 Million in Grants for Colleges and Universities to Combat Hate Crimes

Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has reintroduced the David Ray Ritcheson Hate Crime Prevention Act. Ritcheson was a Texas teen who was brutally attacked by two skinheads who yelled “white power” during the attack. Ritcheson committed suicide the next year.

The legislation would permit a victim of a hate crime to take time off from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Unemployment benefits would be available to hate crime victims who miss work because of the hate crime. The bill would also authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development to issue grants to provide housing assistance to hate crime victims. Money would be provided for hate crime victims and their families who need counseling.

Finally, the bill authorizes the Department of Education to award grants to institutions of higher education to develop education and training programs designed to prevent and reduce the incidence of hate crimes. Funds would also be available for professional training and development for faculty and administrators on the causes and effects of hate crimes.

The bill authorizes $10 million a year from 2010 to 2015 for the grants to higher education.