White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have spoken out strongly in favor of curbing anti-gay bullying in schools and of pursuing anti-gay violence as hate crimes, reports the Dallas Voice.
At the White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools and Communities, held yesterday in Dallas, Texas, both Jarrett and Holder said they are actively working on initiatives to solve issues affecting gay teens and adults.
Jarrett says she has met with Matthew Shepard’s mother Judy, as well as with Tammy Asberg, the mother of a gay teen who killed himself in the notoriously bullycide-heavy Anoka-Hennepin School District. She even has had talks with Lady Gaga about her new anti-bullying org, the Born This Way Foundation.
“Schools have not just a moral responsibility, but a legal responsibility to protect our young people from harassment… Every day we’re striving to do our part to make progress and I believe that day by day, step by step, we will change not just our laws and our policies, but our behavior, our attitudes, our tone, so that every young person is able to strive at school without worrying about people bullied.”
In Holder’s speech, he referenced a recent gay bashing where five men beat two men with baseball bats for appearing to be gay.
“When incidents like this occur, we want to hear about it,” he said. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is served.”
Since hate crimes are federal offenses, it’s clear we have a powerful ally at the head of the Department of Justice. And their not just paying lip service to the idea—we’ve seen the DOJ take action on behalf of people like Tammy Asberg with its recent ruling that the Anoka-Hennepin School District must institute broad reforms on anti-gay bullying.