The Richard Collins III Law takes effect Thursday in Maryland, expanding the state’s hate crime laws to ensure those convicted of hate crimes are prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.
To mark the day, the University of Maryland and Bowie State University launched a historic social justice alliance. The partnership between the state’s oldest historically Black university and a predominantly white university is one that Collins’ family hopes other institutions across the country will replicate.
The initiative honors 1st Lt. Richard Collins III, an ROTC student at Bowie. Collins was fatally stabbed in 2017 outside the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. Prosecutors said the attack was racially motivated.
Bowie State University, the University of Maryland, and the Richard Collins III Foundation worked in partnership to develop the initiative. As part of the program, both schools will promote justice on their respective campuses through seminars and social justice curricula.
“Today, we are taking a stand and bringing our two campuses together to lead the way to address these and other disparities that exist in our society by engaging our students and communities to bring about the change we want to see in our country,” said Amita Breaux, president of Bowie State University.
“It’s a shame that it had to start this way, but I feel like we have more than the power needed to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Zahrah Siddiq, president of the University of Maryland chapter of the NAACP.
In a pre-recorded statement, Collins’ family said the program would help continue their son’s legacy. “We fight for Lt. Richard Collins III. He was a jewel in the crown of democracy,” said Collins’ mother, Dawn Collins.
In the wake of his death, Bowie State University and the Richard Collins III Foundation created a social justice endowed scholarship. The school will announce the scholarship’s first recipient this fall.