Alfano Bill Increasing Penalties for Displaying Swastika or Burning a Cross Signed Into Law
Just so you know, every once in a while our State Legislature does something that is both vital and significant.
Stiifer penalties have been enacted by the Legislature, and signed into law by the Governor, concerning so-called Hate Crimes. That legal measures are necessary in this day and age to address bias, bigotry, and the darker side of humanity is sad and unfortunate. And while morality defies legislation, we are glad to see Albany take an important step in trying to address the problem here at home.
Now, if we could only get the Legislature to recognize the atrocities in Darfur, and to take up legislation to prohibit the State from doing business or entering into contracts with any private company that does business with Darfur. That, we believe, would go a long way in telling the world, "there's no place for hate in our State!"
Albany, NY ~ Assemblyman Tom Alfano announced yesterday that legislation he sponsored with Assemblyman William Colton, that increases the penalty to a Class E felony for making a swastika or burning a cross on public property or a private building without the owner’s permission in public view, was signed into law by the Governor.
Alfano fought for the legislation after an incident in North Valley Stream where hate messages were spray-painted on the garage door of a family. “It was a sickening act, and I’m proud that this bipartisan effort made this bill law. Hate crime has no place in our communities.” In the incident cited by Alfano, a family moving into the North Valley Stream community was met by spray painted hate messages and symbols on their garage door.
The swastika was the adopted symbol of the barbarous Nazi regime, which murdered millions of innocent civilians, and sought to exterminate the Jewish people. Under its banner, six million Jews were slaughtered, including millions at such infamous and inhumane concentration camps as Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Treblinka. Hate groups seeking to inflict fear in Jewish communities have been known to desecrate synagogues and cemeteries with swastikas.
The Cross has been the symbol of salvation to hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide for more than 2000 years. Hate groups have used cross-burning and other forms of desecrating the Cross to terrorize African-Americans, and instill fear in communities of diversity.
“Hate crimes have to be stamped out in every corner. By taking a strong stand and putting muscle behind these laws, we’re sending a message to hate groups that we will not allow their twisted views to harass, threaten or intimidate our communities,” stated Assemblyman Alfano.
Alfano also noted that increased penalties were not the only answer to hate crime. “We need to, as communities, look out for our fellow neighbor. Neighborhood watch, civic associations and volunteer groups all have a part to play. It’s my hope that we start to practice the catch-phrase of ‘if you see something-say something’ so that we can fight hate crimes in every form,” Alfano concluded.