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Indiana governor's push for hate crime law is gaining traction in South Bend

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The governor's push for a hate crime law has support in South Bend.

The city council voted unanimously Monday night on a resolution, calling on lawmakers to pass a law.

Five states remain without hate crime laws, and their hope is to no longer be one of the final states without one.

Whether it has to do with race, religion, or sexual preference, city leaders are hoping their message to end hate is heard.

“Daily basis being judged by my head scarf,” said Samantha Musleh, Islamic Society of Michiana. “They just assume I’m no good, I’m trouble, but in reality, I’m not."

It's situations like that which prompted South Bend's Common Council to send a message to the General Assembly.

“We want to take Indiana and take it to be one of those states that have hate crime in place at the state level,” said Tim Scott, South Bend Common Council President.

Scott says there is no place for hate or discrimination. He says almost anyone can find themselves on the painful side of hate.

“For whatever they believe in, however they are, however they act, just overall beliefs -- it’s wrong,” said Scott. “We are all individuals , we are all human beings and we need to treat each other like human beings and have peace in this world.”

LQBTQ Center Development Director Lance Mullins says it's a major victory.

“It’s important to keep the LGBTQ voice in that conversation because we are still an unprotected class in Indiana,” said Mullins.

He says they are still fighting for Jodie Henderson, who was killed in 2016.

“He was murdered for being gay and being other and in his trial, it was not addressed for it being a hate crime,” said Miller. “Having that extra layer for qualification on the crime is really helpful for our community in general.”

Musleh says having a law like this would be a relief.

“Hopefully we can finally feel comfortable in our own communities,” said Musleh.

She hopes this is the step in the right direction for all marginalized communities.

“We are never going to be able to say ‘You’re not allowed to hate,’ that’s always going to happen,” said Musleh. “But at least, it will give someone a second chance to think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t say what I’m going to say what I’m going to say or do what I’m going to do because more repercussions will happen.’”

Both Mullins and Musleh want this to be the push to not only get hate crime laws in Indiana, but get the ball rolling for the other four states.

That way, there is protections for all U.S. citizens.

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