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Investigation into Anti-Transgender Incident in California Requested by National Civil Rights Groups

For Immediate Release May 22, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, one of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations, and The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization released a letter on Monday directed to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The letter asks for a thorough review and investigation of a potential hate crime and invasion of privacy involving a recent anti-transgender incident in California.

This past week, Jazmina Saavedra — a political candidate in California — recorded a non-consensual video following a transgender woman into a restaurant bathroom, harassing her and repeatedly and intentionally misgendering her. The candidate then posted the video online and later posted anti-transgender language on her social media platforms. If the incident as described and captured by news reports is accurate, the incident may qualify as a hate crime under California law and may violate California’s public accommodations law. Read the letter here.

“Across our country, we are seeing a spike in hate crimes targeted at our nation’s most vulnerable communities. We urge State Attorney General Becerra to use every tool in his arsenal to determine whether Ms. Saavedra’s conduct violates state law,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “As the federal government continues to retreat from its responsibility to prevent and prosecute hate crimes, we urge state law enforcement agencies to step in, fill the void and protect the rights of survivors.”

“Jazmina Saavedra’s actions are dangerous. She invaded a woman’s privacy while harassing and misgendering the victim. This type of discriminatory behavior is unacceptable, especially from someone seeking to represent the people of California,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “HRC joins Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in requesting that Attorney General Becerra launch a full and thorough investigation into this potential hate crime.”

In November of 2017, the HRC Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition released a report detailing the epidemic of anti-transgender violence over the past five years.

The Stop Hate Project of the Lawyers’ Committee works to strengthen the capacity of local government as well as community leaders, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate by connecting these groups with legal and social services resources and creating new ones in response to identified needs.

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About The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers' Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers' Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of "Moving America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.

For more information about the Lawyers' Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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