Before the the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R. 1592, in a vote of 237 to 180 last week, Geogia Rep. Hank Johnson was a hard working man that was not on my radar. I received numerous e-mails from the HRC urging me to contact my local representative to ensure they were in support of the bill, meanwhile I prepared myself for a fight with whomever answered my call because I was almost certain they were going to be in opposition. When I reached Representative Johnson's office I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was in favor of the bill, but I was even more surprised to learn that he was an African -American.
His name obviously threw me off. I'd conjured up an image of an overweight, bald, white, southern evangelical in my head.
I'm glad I was wrong about his appearance and his politics. Blacks are often believed to be more homophobic than whites and that is surely up for debate, but I'm glad this Black man realizes that hate of any kind towards any group of people is wrong and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I'm proud of Representative Johnson and equally proud to be a Georgian. I think I'm gonna have to write him a personal thank you letter.