WRITTEN BY EDWARD HENDERSON | CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA
On May 4, 2023, a press conference was held to launch California vs Hate, a new website and telephone hotline created to address the sharp rise in hate crimes and hate incidents occurring in the state. The event was attended by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), Gov. Gavin Newsom, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, state legislators, advocates and people affected by hate crimes.
California vs Hate is a tool state residents can use to report crimes motivated by racial, ethnic or other identity biases. It is part of a broader $110 million investment in anti-hate initiatives.
Lorreen Pryor, President of the Black Youth Leadership Project (BYLP), spoke at the event.
“Anti-Black or African American-biased events rose from 456 in 2020 to 513 in 2021, an increase of 12.5%, continuing the trend of Black Californians being identified as the most targeted ethnic group,” Pryor stated.
According to Pryor, “BYLP is committed to working with the civil rights department, local and state officials, and community leaders to address longstanding anti-Black racism and the subsequent lack of response from law enforcement. We will continue to uplift Black youth, families and community members as we navigate through daily acts of Black bias, discrimination and harassment.”
The Governor’s office stated that California vs Hate was established as a response to requests from state and local community and government leaders for resources to address the recent surge in reported hate crimes, which have reached their highest level since 2001. Between 2020 and 2021, hate crimes increased almost 33% statewide.
In California, any individual who has experienced or witnessed an act of hate can anonymously report it by phone or online, irrespective of their immigration status. Everyone is eligible for free care coordination and referrals to resources, including mental health care.
According to California law, a hate crime is a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation; or because of the person’s association with a person or group with one or more of those actual or perceived characteristics.
“Here in California, we are sending an unequivocal message that hate will not be tolerated,” said Gov. Newsom. “We stand firm for a California for All and it is important that we hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and provide resources for those individuals victimized by hate crimes.”
In 2021, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) proposed establishing a state hotline to report hate crimes. He said the program would assist individuals and communities who are targets of hate including Asian Americans, Latinos, Black Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, religious minorities, and other diverse communities in California.
“We all saw how incidents of hate targeting Asian Americans escalated during the pandemic across the country. As we worked to fight back, we quickly saw this pandemic of hat was not only targeting Asians, but so many different communities in California,” said Muratsuchi.
Reports can be made online in 15 languages at any time at cavshate.org, or by calling (833) 866-4283 or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, and talking to trained staff in over 200 languages.
Trained care coordinators will provide support following a report, identify options for next steps after a hate incident or hate crime, and connect callers with culturally competent resources. It should be noted that this is not an emergency response hotline and callers are advised to call 911 if they are in immediate danger or witness someone else in distress.
“California is strong because of our diversity but hate-fueled violence remains a persistent and growing threat,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish. “With the launch of CA vs Hate, we’re taking action to help put a stop to hate and to provide support for victims, survivors, and their families. In the face of hate across the nation, we stand united in declaring: California is for everyone.”
This California Black Media report was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.