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GA Faith Leaders Hold Virtual Press Conference Calling on the General Assembly to Immediately Pass Hate Crimes Bill


June 5, 2020​


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123
Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393
Graham Younger, gyounger@faithinpubliclife.org, (678) 739-8584

GA Faith Leaders Hold Virtual Press Conference Calling on the General Assembly to Immediately Pass Hate Crimes Bill 

Atlanta, Ga. — On Thursday, June 4th, Georgia faith leaders held a virtual press conference calling on the Georgia Assembly to immediately pass the Georgia Enhanced Penalties for Hate Crimes Act, HB 426. Faith leaders also demanded that state law enforcement officials not attack or hinder those peacefully protesting the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. 

Georgia is one of only four states in the U.S. that do not have a hate crimes prevention law. Over 150 people of faith have already signed a statewide petition urging the General Assembly to pass this game-changing legislation.

As people of faith, we know that Black lives are sacred. Black lives matter. We demand that black lives matter to our government. Georgia’s legislative session will begin again on June 15th, and starting now Georgia’s faith leaders will work for racial justice and counter white supremacy at every level of government – from police precincts, to the courthouse, to the Gold Dome, to Washington, DC.

For the full video, click here


Rabbi Peter Berg, The Temple:

“In the U.S. a hate crime occurs every 90 minutes. It is long overdue for Georgia to protect its citizens with a law that provides enhanced penalties for bias crimes committed against someone because of who they are. Georgians in record numbers are calling on our Senators. The blood of our brothers cries out from the ground.”

Min. Shavonne Williams, Faith in Public Life Organizing Ambassador:

“The hate crimes bill has already passed our state house. Georgia state senators need to pass this hate crimes bill. Yes more work may need to be done. If those in office do not feel the need to pass the bill that will help with equality, then we will go to the polls in November and vote them out and elect legislators who will.”   

Rev. Timothy McDonald III, First Iconium Baptist Church:

“In my tradition it’s about unity, it’s about love, it’s about compassion for all people. There’s room for everybody around this table, nobody needs to be excluded. We are hoping that the hate crimes bill will pass. It would be a stain on the soul of Georgia if that bill does not pass.” 

Dr. Tony Lankford, First Baptist Church, St. Simons Island:

“As a Christian alongside my colleagues of various faith traditions, I recognize that the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament have a word for us during this time. From the Psalms and Proverbs which describe violence as nothing short of detestable to the Lord, to the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the women caught in adultery which consistently call me and us to recognize and give voice to those victimized by violence.”

Pastor Darryl Ford II, IKON Community Church:

“As a Black man, as a veteran, as a pastor, as a leader in the faith community, I must affirm that Black lives are sacred. I affirm that Black lives matter. I also recognize that historically Black lives have not been protected nor advocated for at the same rate of whites in Georgia as well as America.” 


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, we are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level. Our network of 50,000 leaders engage in bold moral action that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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