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Aiken Chamber, others join push to pass hate crimes law in South Carolina

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 7:59 AM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Aiken Chamber of Commerce is among dozens of organizations joining the push for a hate crimes law in the Palmetto State.

A group of South Carolina businesses is teaming up with the SC Chamber of Commerce to ask lawmakers to pass the law. They held a virtual news conference Monday.

Jeff Wafford with UPS said: “We’re asking the SC general assembly to deliver what matters as well because when we think about UPS … our people are our most valuable asset, and we believe that the greatest strength of our people are the diversity and unique qualities they bring to work every day.”

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce just launched a website today called passhatecrimesc.com.

Businesses can show support and check for updates on the legislation.

South Carolina is one of only four states without a hate crime law.

Georgia passed one in June.

Joining in support of a hate crimes law were:

  • AFLAC
  • Aiken Chamber of Commerce
  • AT&T
  • Bank of America
  • BASF
  • Benedict College
  • Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Coca Cola Company
  • CVS Health
  • Ernst & Young
  • Greenville Chamber of Commerce
  • Hartness International
  • Ingevity
  • InterTech
  • Lockhart Power Company
  • Rhodes Branding
  • Rhodes Graduation
  • SC Realtors
  • Secondary Solutions
  • Sonoco
  • South Carolina Student Loan Corpo.
  • TD Bank
  • Together SC
  • Wells Fargo
  • Womble Bond Dickinson

The number of hate groups in South Carolina have increased since 2015, according to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The center’s “hate map” tracked 20 hate groups in South Carolina in 2020. It’s the largest number since 2015 when the SPLC said they identified 22 hate groups in the state.

State lawmakers say that’s more of a reason for the state to pass hate crime legislation.

Among those pushing a hate crimes bill is Rep. Wendell Gilliard, who believes the hate crime legislation he pre-filed back in 2018 will finally become law.

The bill would add penalties for crimes committed against a person because of their “race, religion, color, sex age, national origin, sexual orientation, or homelessness.”

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