Lesser Amendment Creating a Security Grant Program for Nonprofits at Risk of Terror Attack Passes the Senate

BOSTON — On Thursday, the State Senate approved a budget amendment proposed by Senator Eric P. Lesser that creates a $150,000 fund to provide security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at risk of terror attack and hate crimes. Hate crimes and vandalism have been on the rise in Massachusetts and across the country in the past two years. The FBI has reported a high rate of reported hate crimes in Massachusetts based on race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

Last summer, the New England Holocaust Memorial was vandalized twice in three months, and bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers across the state, including in Springfield.

In Belchertown, copies of the Ku Klux Klan’s Klansmen newspaper were distributed multiple times over the past year.

“It is disturbing that we have to address issues like this at all. But it is a fact that these incidents have been increasing, not decreasing, in our communities. This funding will help protect our families and vulnerable communities, but it is my sincere hope that our values of respect and dignity for every human being will win out in the end,” said Sen. Lesser.

The funding must now be agreed to by the House of Representatives before heading to the Governor for his signature.