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Hangman‘s Nooses as Constituting a Hate Crime

WHEREAS, the hangman's noose has been used both directly and symbolically throughout American history to racially lynch, kill, terrorize and threaten African Americans, other racial or ethnic minority Americans and their allies, eventually ushering in the very birth of the NAACP; and

WHEREAS, incidents involving the use of the hangman's noose have increased dramatically, breaching home, schoolroom, and work environments; and

WHEREAS, the duty to protect African Americans and their allies from this iconic symbol of racial hatred rests with law enforcement officials whose swift, direct, and  unambiguous action is necessary to end the racially divisive use of this symbol; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement officials have instead constructed artificial reasons to justify not prosecuting under the available hate crime laws, perpetrators who use hangman's nooses to threaten and stigmatize African Americans, their children and allies alike;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the NAACP, while maintaining our policy of support for the freedom of speech as protected by the first amendment to the Constitution, hereby expressly adopts a position of zero tolerance in opposing the conduct of anyone who uses the hangman's noose to intimidate, threaten or assault African Americans or their allies and thus violate their constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP fight under state law to make hanging a noose or burning a cross a felony in state statutes; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that law enforcement officials unequivocally exercise their authority to stop such racially hateful conduct by holding individuals responsible for such behavior by the timely and full prosecution under available hate crime laws.