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Eugene community voices hate and bias crime experiences

The Oregon Hate Crime Task Force set up a public listening session in Eugene to allow the community to share the hate and bias crimes they've experienced.

Posted: Jan. 8, 2019 11:48 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene community members made their voices heard on Tuesday evening about hate and discrimination they've faced in our area.

Nearly 100 people showed up at Harris Hall in downtown Eugene to share their experiences of hate and discrimination and gave recommendations to the Hate Crime Task Force.

One community member said people need to realize there's a problem.

"There's so many of us here in these -- in Oregon -- that don't even want to admit that there's a problem."

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said that problem is exactly why the Hate Crime Task Force was created.

"The truth is that we don't know as much as we should about hate and bias crimes," Rosenblum said. "The one thing we do know is that they're consistently underreported."

The reasoning for that ranges from a lack of reporting the crimes to a lack of faith in law enforcement to even do anything about those crimes.

So, Attorney General Rosenblum created this task force, and they're going around to major cities across Oregon to hear those incidents first-hand to strengthen hate crime laws.

Debra McGee, a former adjunct professor at Northwest Christian University, said she was discriminated against and un-hired by the university for being a lesbian because she didn't sign an oath for employees, stating they are complying with the employee handbook.

"The handbook states, 'the singularly appropriate context for sexual intimacy is rooted in the Genesis account of creation,' on page 11."

That task force will take the information they've gathered from Tuesday's meeting, as well as others that they've conducted around the state, and present that to the Oregon Legislature this year.

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