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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 6, 1999


My thoughts and prayers are with the families in Illinois and Indiana whose lives were touched by the violent shootings this holiday weekend. No family should be forced to confront such tragedy.

These attacks were both senseless and cowardly. This violence, motivated by hate and ignorance, wounds individuals and families, and the very spirit of our nation. Unfortunately, these crimes occur far too often -- every year, thousands of Americans are attacked because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

America is too great a country to allow these crimes to go unpunished. This year Congress must pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This legislation sends a clear, strong message to all who would attack others simply because they are different: Don't do it. It is wrong, it is illegal, and if you do commit these terrible crimes, we will find you, and punish you to the full force of our laws.

I urge members of Congress, leaders, and citizens across our country to come together with one voice on this issue. We must all stand together against intolerance, against prejudice, against violent and against senseless bigotry in every community, in every corner in our country.