Fargo City Commission passes hate crime ordinances
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – The Fargo City Commission approves three hate crime ordinances that will protect all people no matter their nationality, religion, or lifestyle.
“The most important message here is that everyone should feel safe and secure in this community and if you’re getting targeted because of your lifestyle or religion your skin color or whatever the most important message we can send is we are not going to tolerate that” Fargo City Commissioner Arlette Preston said.
The ordinance mentions if any person commits criminal mischief, harassment and simple assault as a hate crime it is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor and will be punished by a fine of $1,500, or 30 days in prison.
“It send them a message that our community and its leaders are going to take those crimes seriously. That has not always been the case before. I think there is a huge amount of hate crimes that have gone unreported because they victims feel that nothing is going to get done,” Wess Philome with OneFargo said.
The approval of the ordinances sends a message to the people of the community that you will be protected from hate.
“We don’t have a choice to be black. We don’t have a choice to be Muslim. There’s no choice to be LGBT,” Faith Dixon with Black Lives Matter Fargo-Moorhead said.
“This is all about the safety and security of all our resident here in Fargo, so i can’t over emphasis that I think,” Preston said.
Many say this ordinance was long overdue and is a small victory being one step closer to progressiveness in Fargo.
“We have been waiting for this for so long and as a women of color, Muslim, black immigrant the whole bill is about defending people like me and I’m very happy it went through and very happy you have people in the position of power that care about their community and keep their word,” Ordinance supporter Hamida Dakaen said.
“It sends that message that our city is going to be willing and ready to do something about it when people are affected by hateful acts,” Philome said.
Commissioners Dave Piepkorn and Tony Gehrig voted against the ordinance.