State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell said: “LGBTQ bars and nightclubs are meant to be safe spaces for our community. But as we’ve seen, they’re under attack across the nation.
The recent mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs brings to mind the massacre of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which was the deadliest anti-LGBT crime in United States history. With the Supreme Court’s radical rollback of common sense gun violence prevention laws and the extreme right’s homophobic and transphobic fearmongering, New York’s LGBTQ community is extremely vulnerable.
New York State can act now by expanding the successful Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program to include small businesses at risk of hate crimes, like LGBTQ bars and nightclubs, so that they can install life-saving security improvements that could prevent a terrorist attack or hate crime in our community.
LGBTQ people should be able to go to bars and nightclubs without fearing for their life.
I’m going to fight to make sure that the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program is expanded to include LGBTQ bars and other safe gathering spaces for our community in the next state budget.”
Bill Morgan, operator of the historic Stonewall Inn, said “LGBTQ bars and nightclubs are struggling to keep their patrons safe during these perilous times. As recent tragedies have shown, our community is vulnerable. I strongly support Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember O’Donnell’s efforts to expand the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program to include LGBTQ bars and nightclubs.”
Assemblymember-elect Tony Simone said "The mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado is yet another instance of the hatred being spread against the LGBTQ community by right-wing extremists turning into real life violence. I applaud Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember O'Donnell for taking this step to defend LGBTQ spaces from violence and hate."
Elisa Crespo, Executive Director of the NEW Pride Agenda, said “With heightened attacks on local LGBTQ establishments from Rochester to Hell's Kitchen - the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program is more important than ever. New Pride Agenda looks forward to working with Senator Hoylman to pass this important bill that will expand eligibility to LGBTQ bars and nightclubs.”
Carmen Neely, Harlem Pride & Harlem SGL LGBTQ Center, said “Once again, our community is under attack. From Orlando, to Colorado Springs, to right here in Harlem, NYC and abroad, our LGBTQIA community is under attack. As long as hate festers in the hearts and minds of those who choose physical violence, guns, and death, we won't ever be completely safe. We must do what we can as a community to come together and protect each other and the spaces in which we gather. To that end, we welcome and support NYS Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell and NYS Senator Brad Hoylman’s legislation to provide heightened security measures to further protect and secure our safe spaces and our community members.”
Amanda Babine, Executive Director of Equality New York, said “"With the continued attacks on our LGBTQI community, this bill will create safer venues here in New York State. We deserve safe spaces for our community. We applaud Senator Hoylman for acting quickly and advocating for ways to keep all LGBTQI New Yorkers safe."
Background: New York State created the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program in 2017 to provide capital grants to institutions that are vulnerable to hate crimes because of their ideology, beliefs or mission, but the program is currently limited only to non-profits. Grant recipients can receive up to $150,000 each to support security improvements like lighting, locks, alarms, panic buttons, fencing, barriers, access controls, shatter-resistant glass and blast resistant film, public address systems, and cyber security measures. As of November 2022, the program has awarded $83.1 million to 600 organizations supporting about 1,700 projects. The State is currently soliciting applications for a further $50 million in grants to support about 1,000 projects.