To Whom It May Concern:

The Noblesville Diversity Coalition appreciates the Senate Public Policy Committee’s strong bipartisan support for bias crime legislation. They approved Senate Bill 12 by a vote of 9-1 after NDC joined Central Indiana’s business, community and faith leaders to testify on the need for stricter sentencing of convicted offenders who target victims based on their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, the full Senate then amended SB 12 and removed law enforcement training and the list of immutable characteristics that is critical to protecting ALL Hoosiers.

NDC was disappointed to see Noblesville’s representative, Senator Victoria Spartz, voted in favor of the amendment stripping the bill of the very language that made it clear, inclusive and effective.

But all is not lost thanks to the continued leadership of Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Forward coalition. The NDC calls on all members of the Indiana House, including Representative Chuck Goodrich of Noblesville, to restore the effectiveness of this bill.

The problem of hate is very real for local communities such as Noblesville. Some of our coalition members have experienced hate first hand. Others are worried for their children. In November, our high school was vandalized with racist threats of violence meant to intimidate people of color. This type of repulsive behavior is happening more frequently across Indiana, and it’s time to do something about it.

Meanwhile, the business community is concerned that without an effective bias-crime law, Indiana will struggle to recruit young professionals while companies that offer high-wage, high-tech jobs will likely go elsewhere.

However, the NDC is not interested in merely “checking the box” on this issue with the passage of just any hate crime bill. We respectfully call upon the Indiana House to pass bias-crime legislation that is clear, inclusive and effective – and that means by listing the immutable characteristics that cover all Hoosiers.

That means every race. Every ethnicity. Every religion. Every national origin. Every age. Every disability. Every sex. Every gender identity. Every sexual orientation. Everyone is covered – consistently across the state, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and without any room for doubt among prosecutors and judges, whether the bias crime law would apply if the crime is motivated by a bias of any one of these characteristics.

Join us in sending a clear message that Indiana will not stand by and tolerate cowardly acts of violence and intimidation. By extending protections to every Hoosier, we can all feel safe – no matter where we live, work, learn and worship.

-Noblesville Diversity Coalition

(Connie Blanford, Noblesville Citizen; Dan Cavallini, Noblesville Citizen; Steve Cooke, Deputy Mayor, City of Noblesville; Laura Denis, Director of Student Services, Noblesville Schools; Rev. Teri L. Ditslear, ECLA, Roots of Life Community; Bob DuBois, President, Noblesville Chamber; Pete Freeman, Noblesville Citizen; Bryan Glover, Co-owner, Mr. G’s Liquors; Jim Gorby, Noblesville Citizen; Jennifer Harris, Noblesville Citizen; Rev. Aaron Hobbs, Pastor, Noblesville First United Methodist Church; Brandi C. Holmes, Noblesville Citizen; La Vella Hyter, Noblesville Citizen; Cal Kadourah, Noblesville Citizen; Michele Leach, Noblesville Citizen; Wendy Nelson, Noblesville Citizen; Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, Superintendent, Noblesville Schools; Janina Pettiford, Manager, Love’s Hangover Creations; Rev. Patrick Propst, Senior Pastor, Faith Community Church; Dana Randall, Noblesville Citizen; Lisa Sobek, Noblesville Citizen; Luis Sorto, Noblesville Citizen; Kim Sweet, Noblesville Citizen; Becky Terry, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville; Dwayne Thompson, Noblesville Citizen; Jennifer Townsend, Director of Learning, Noblesville Schools; Emily Awour Wasonga, Owner, Love’s Hangover Creations; Tamara Winfrey-Harris, Hamilton County Community Foundation)