State lawmakers are taking up a challenge to crack down on hate crimes in North Carolina.

Monday, they met with community activists and law enforcement to announce a new bill designed to put a stop to the disturbing crimes.

This comes a year after the world watched in horror as deadly and violent events happened in Charlottesville, Va.

“It was something like we’ve seen in a throwback to the 1940s,” said Gerald Givens Jr. “It was a time in our society and the world when racial hatred was rampant.”

Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake County) says he hopes to prevent a Charlottesville type of incident in North Carolina which is why he introduced SB 794, better known as the Hate Crime Prevention Act.

“It sends a signal to the business community that our state is a compassionate one,” said Sen. Chaudhuri. “Secondly, and most importantly, it’s important to send a signal to all communities that they will receive the protections that they deserve in the event of a hate crime taking place.”

State Bill 794 seeks to strengthen hate crime prevention laws in North Carolina while adding new state laws on gender protections and requiring the SBI to collect and analyze information on hate crimes.

Currently, it is up to individual departments to report hate crime information.

“Clearly the collection and analyzing of data will be important for local law enforcement officers and communities to have so we know if there are trends that we have in our community with regards to hate crimes,” said Chaudhuri.

“We can’t change people’s hearts, but the laws can regulate peoples behavior,” said Givens. “That’s why we need to take this time now to take the lead for North Carolina, and take the lead for our country. We need to be able to send a signal that hate has no place in our society.”

Chaudhuri has vowed that if the Hate Crimes Prevention Act isn’t called during the short session in November he will reintroduce the bill in 2019.