September 23, 2023

In August 2020, Hong Lee was consuming at a restaurant in Los Angeles when she was approached by a person who requested her to lunch. When she politely declined, the person started yelling a torrent of racist and sexist insults, and informed her to “return to Asia.” Fearing escalation, Lee recorded the assault and later shared the video on-line.

Lee mentioned she initially felt disgrace and anxiousness round posting the video, partially due to cultural norms. However after sharing her expertise, the video gained mass consideration, and greater than 5 victims assaulted by the identical man got here ahead, Lee mentioned. One of many instances was later escalated right into a hate crime with a legal menace. Lee mentioned she is going to proceed utilizing her voice to advocate for communities of coloration by way of anti-hate initiatives “till these assaults cease.”

“I’ve to be their voice,” Lee mentioned. “I’ve to proceed advocating for them even when they’re not in a position to.”

Lee’s preliminary hesitancy to share her expertise just isn’t uncommon. As experiences of hate and discrimination throughout California and nationwide develop, state and native efforts are aimed toward offering assets to assist and empower victims, and forestall hateful acts from occurring.

On Aug. 23, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s workplace introduced that the state will allocate $91.4 million to 173 native organizations that present companies to hate crime victims and facilitate anti-hate packages. Newsom’s announcement comes on the heels of current high-profile incidents, together with the current killing of a store proprietor within the Lake Arrowhead space who brazenly supported the various LGBTQ+ group.


The Governor’s workplace can also be encouraging folks to report hate crimes and acts of discrimination, which leaders say are nonetheless broadly unreported.

“An assault on any of our communities is an assault on every little thing we stand for as Californians,” the governor mentioned in an announcement. “As hate-fueled rhetoric drives rising acts of bigotry and violence, California is taking motion to guard those that are focused only for being who they’re. We’re bolstering our assist for victims and anti-hate packages and tackling ignorance and intolerance by way of schooling to forestall hate from taking maintain in our communities.”

As a part of the state’s actions, a letter can be despatched to all California public college leaders emphasizing the authorized duties and significance of educating unbiased ethnic research curriculum, officers mentioned. As a brand new college 12 months begins, an inclusive curriculum “provides college students an opportunity to see themselves within the material of our state,” the letter reads.

The California Civil Rights Division may also launch the primary main statewide “CA vs. Hate” media marketing campaign — with multilingual print, radio and digital adverts that officers say will give attention to historically harder-to-reach communities.

Jeff Abrams, Regional Director of the ADL, speaks during the unveiling of a new community mural celebrating Jewish culture in L.A., named The Common Thread and developed with support from the Anti-Defamation League and The Jewish Federation, in Pico-Robertson on Sunday, June 4, 2023. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)
Jeff Abrams, Regional Director of the ADL, speaks through the unveiling of a brand new group mural celebrating Jewish tradition in L.A., named The Widespread Thread and developed with assist from the Anti-Defamation League and The Jewish Federation, in Pico-Robertson on Sunday, June 4, 2023.(Photograph by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer) 

The marketing campaign information follows the state’s earlier funding of $44.6 million for anti-hate packages by way of its “Cease the Hate” program, the spring launch of the multilingual CA vs. Hate hotline — 833-8-NO-HATE — and web site to report incidents and discover assets, and the creation of the governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Schooling final October 2022. The state has additionally awarded quite a few grants to native nonprofits to strengthen safety and improve companies, a launch mentioned. California additionally has a Fee on the State of Hate, established in 2021 to trace statewide hate crimes and suggest insurance policies.

Within the first month of this system’s official launch in Might, CA vs Hate acquired 180 experiences of hateful acts throughout California, officers mentioned.

In keeping with the state Lawyer Normal’s newest report on hate crimes launched in June, reported hate crimes in California elevated roughly 20% final 12 months — up from 1,763 in 2021, to 2,120 in 2022.

In L.A., hate crimes rose by 15% in 2022, in keeping with a brand new report by the Los Angeles Police Division. The division’s evaluation revealed 701 hate crimes and incidents have been reported in 2022, in contrast with 610 in 2021. Ninety of these have been anti-Hispanic hate crimes, a lower of 12% from 2021; 180 have been anti-Black hate crimes, a rise of 36%; and 33 have been anti-Asian hate crimes — a 371% improve from the seven anti-Asian hate crimes reported in 2019, earlier than the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jewish group was the most important affected by hate crimes within the faith class, the report mentioned, with 89 antisemitic hate crimes reported in 2022, a rise of 24% from the 12 months prior.

One other upcoming report, first offered in late August by the Middle for the Examine of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, displays these similar tendencies — rising hate crimes — in main U.S. cities, saying that the most important share improve in reported hate crimes have been in opposition to members of the LGBTQ+ group.

However officers say the alarming numbers don’t inform the entire story. Group leaders say there was a historic underreporting of hate crimes throughout the state for a lot of causes — together with worry of retaliation, lack of culturally competent assets, immigration issues and total mistrust of regulation enforcement. Additionally, there’s common confusion about what a hate crime is or isn’t, and what will be reported, leaders say.

Terra Russell-Slavin, the Chief Affect Officer at The Los Angeles LGBT Middle, mentioned that with the “vital” improve in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and laws all through the nation within the final 12 months, members of the group are scared to report their experiences to lawmakers. Individuals don’t know who to belief, Russell-Slavin mentioned.

Rows of flower bouquets and satisfaction flags cowl the Magazine.Pi storefront as a memorial for late Cedar Glen group member Laura Ann “Lauri” Carleton on in Cedar Glen on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. (Photograph by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Solar/SCNG) 

“Usually, there’s a sense that the issues received’t be taken severely, that they’ll be brushed apart, or that no motion can be taken,” she mentioned.

Russell-Slavin famous that the Aug. 18 capturing of Cedar Glen store proprietor and LGBTQ+ ally Laura Ann Carleton demonstrates “a wake of violence” in opposition to the LGBTQ+ group — so it’s necessary to uplift the narrative to make folks really feel protected to report.

Hong Lee feels that reporting her expertise was mandatory to assist different victims of such assaults converse out and really feel much less alone. After what she went by way of in 2020, she was contacted by officers from LA vs. Hate, an initiative led by the L.A. County Fee on Human Relations, which related her to counseling to assist her course of.

Now, she serves as an LA vs. Hate ambassador, the place she helps different victims of hate and connects them to assets. She additionally leads the nonprofit Seniors Struggle Again, which since 2021 has offered free self-defense workshops and assets to the group, particularly Asian American seniors and the weak aged. LA vs. Hate additionally helps the nonprofit, which was additionally acknowledged by the CA State Meeting.

“To have town lawyer, the DA, simply anyone to have the ability to take motion, and for the individual to have penalties for his or her actions, (victims) must report they usually have to talk up,” Lee mentioned. “That’s the one means we’ll put an finish to any of this.”

Sophie Cuevas is a care coordinator for LA vs. Hate, the place she responds to calls made on its 2-1-1 hotline — the quantity folks can name to report hate incidents and obtain referrals to assist companies. Cuevas shared the expertise with a consumer who known as the hotline wanting two perpetrators, who lived in the identical neighborhood as her, to be prosecuted.

“There have been moments the place she was very pissed off and would cry and be upset, and I’d lend her my ear and be empathetic and say, ‘You’re a powerful individual, you will get by way of this. I’m nonetheless right here. I’m nonetheless supporting you,’” Cuevas mentioned.

Calling for assist — and discovering private assist — made a world of distinction in having the ability to transfer on, Cuevas mentioned. She even fashioned a friendship with that consumer.

“I nonetheless name her once in a while simply to say, ‘I’m considering of you, how are you doing?’” she shared.

Many individuals expertise fears and frustrations with the authorized course of after reporting, or are scared to succeed in out to regulation enforcement within the first place, leaders mentioned.

Becky Monroe, the Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives and Exterior Affairs on the Civil Rights Division, mentioned that if victims’ experiences are dismissed as a result of they might not rise to the extent of against the law, then they is likely to be extra hesitant to report when against the law does happen. However CA vs. Hate, the state’s useful resource and hotline, goals to work with regulation enforcement to assist construct belief with various communities.

“It doesn’t matter if (the incident) was against the law – we’ll assist you when you’ve been focused for discrimination,” Monroe mentioned, citing authorized assist, sufferer compensation, psychological well being companies and financial companies by way of CA vs. Hate. Monroe mentioned it’s necessary to make sure the messaging is inclusive, that each one companies “permit folks to attach in a means that exhibits respect” for what they skilled.

Any sufferer or witness to a hate incident or crime in California can report incidents on-line at, by calling (833) 866-4283 or 833-8-NO-HATE; Monday by way of Friday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. Outdoors of these hours, folks can name the 211 hotline for assist in additional than 200 languages.

L.A. County has a confidential hotline — 211 — the place folks can report hate crimes and incidents, discover assets and assist. These in Orange County can report on-line or by way of the county’s confidential hotline, 714-480-6580.

Employees author Allyson Vergara and Metropolis Information Service contributed to this report.