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PRINTER'S NO. 739
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE RESOLUTION
No.
117
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY KIRKLAND, SCHLOSSBERG, READSHAW, HILL-EVANS,
McNEILL, MURT, CIRESI, KINSEY AND FITZGERALD, MARCH 6, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, MARCH 6, 2019
A RESOLUTION
Urging the residents of this Commonwealth to become active
bystanders when witnessing a hate crime take place.
WHEREAS, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a
hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property
motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a
race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity,
gender, or gender identity"; and
WHEREAS, Synonymous with the use of hate crime as defined by
the FBI, the Commonwealth uses ethnic intimidation to refer to a
malicious intention toward the race, color, religion or national
origin of another individual; and
WHEREAS, Reported hate crimes increased by 17% in the United
States and by more than 27% in this Commonwealth in 2017; and
WHEREAS, The "bystander effect" is a social psychological
phenomenon in which the amount of time it takes an individual to
take action varies depending on how many other observers are
nearby; and
WHEREAS, According to the University of Manchester, the
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problem with passive bystanders is that they do not challenge an
aggressor's prejudicial or biased behavior; and
WHEREAS, Consequently more serious acts of discrimination,
hate and violence can ensue as a result of the inaction of
passive bystanders; and
WHEREAS, In contrast, the University of Manchester describes
an active bystander as someone who takes the responsibility to
act when the bystander becomes aware of a problematic situation;
and
WHEREAS, The Scottish government's Independent Advisory Group
on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion suggests that
responsibility for tackling hate crime in society should extend
beyond the criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS, The Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime,
Prejudice and Community Cohesion also suggests that bystander
intervention is an effective way to stop the normalization of
prejudicial and biased behavior; and
WHEREAS, The University of Manchester recommends three
strategies as safe, active bystander techniques: remove,
distract and delegate; and
WHEREAS, Removing a victim from a problematic, discriminating
situation directly disrupts and defuses the situation and
ensures the victim's safety; and
WHEREAS, In order to derail a hateful conversation and
obstruct further problematic actions by an aggressor, it is
effective to distract the aggressor with a direct statement such
as, "I don't like what you just did"; and
WHEREAS, Delegating the intervention to someone nearby such
as a police officer, teacher or manager can also be a safe way
to disrupt an individual's prejudicial behavior; and
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WHEREAS, Speaking up, being an active citizen and refusing to
be a passive bystander shows responsible leadership and can make
our society safer and less welcoming to prejudice; therefore be
it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives urge the
residents of this Commonwealth to become active bystanders when
witnessing a hate crime take place.
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