Attorney General Bonta, Orange County Community Leaders Discuss Urgent Action Needed to Combat Hate Crimes and Incidents
At the roundtable in Anaheim, local leaders came together to address growing hate crimes and incidents and ways to combat extremism in California
As part of a statewide effort to address hate, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today was joined by Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken and local leaders in Orange County for an anti-hate roundtable discussion. The roundtable in Anaheim is the tenth in a series of meetings led by Attorney General Bonta as he travels throughout the state to bring together local elected officials, law enforcement officers, and community leaders to discuss best practices in addressing hate crime. The roundtables are broadly aimed at developing strategies to address bias and hate, increasing awareness around available resources for members of the public, and strengthening responses to hate crimes in California.
“There is no place for hate in California, and now more than ever, we must stand united against hate and extremism,” said Attorney General Bonta. “By utilizing every resource possible, we will raise awareness around the staggering rise in hate crimes and proactively prevent future extremism from occurring. I want to thank Mayor Aitken and local leaders in Orange County for their partnership and commitment to combating the rise of hate, fostering holistic, community-based responses, and providing resources where they are most needed. Every Californian deserves to feel safe in their cities and communities.”
“Anaheim is a proudly diverse, global city that draws strength from our people and cultures,” said Mayor Aitken. “That is something we must always embrace, uphold and protect. Hate thrives when unaddressed, and building community awareness is one of the most effective steps we can take to ensure Anaheim thrives as a welcoming place for all.”
In 2021, California experienced an alarming 32.6% overall increase in reported hate crimes, the highest number of reported hate crimes in the state since the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Although not captured in statewide hate crime statistics, it’s also important to remember that hate incidents — acts that do not rise to the level of a crime — are also incredibly harmful and can leave lasting, negative impacts on all our communities. The critical discussion focused on developing community-based solutions to protect residents and communities from harm.
Attorney General Bonta has issued a series of reports, guidance, and resources to help the public and law enforcement better understand and address hate crimes in California. Given the ongoing challenge presented by hate crime, the Attorney General urges leaders across the state and members of the public to review and make use of these important resources, which include a law enforcement bulletin summarizing applicable civil and criminal hate crime laws, guidance to prosecutors to help strengthen prosecution and enforcement, and brochures and fact sheets in more than two dozen languages to assist Californians in identifying and responding to hate crime events. Last year, Attorney General Bonta also released a special report on anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic, which offers important context and analysis regarding the recent increases in anti-Asian hate crime events.
Attorney General Bonta launched the Racial Justice Bureau, which, among other things, supports the California Department of Justice’s broader mandate to advance the civil rights of all Californians by assisting with new and ongoing efforts to combat hate and bias. Since last year, the Attorney General has also engaged with local leaders through roundtables in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, Riverside, Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Jose, and Stockton.
More broadly, the Attorney General is deeply committed to responding to the needs of historically marginalized and underrepresented communities and, last year, also launched the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement to work directly with community organizations and members of the public as part of the effort to advance justice for all Californians.
Members of the public can further explore the most recent hate crime data on OpenJustice.
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime, notify local law enforcement and consider taking the following steps:
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and if needed, seek medical attention.
Write down the exact words that were used and take note of any other relevant facts.
If safe to do so, save all evidence and take photos.
Get contact information for other victims and witnesses.
Reach out to community organizations in your area that deal with hate crimes or incidents.
Reports of hate crimes and incidents can also be made to the California Office of Civil Rights CA v. Hate hotline and network online at any time in 15 languages or by calling (833) 866-4283 or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and talking to a trained civil rights agent in over 200 languages. Outside of those hours, people can leave a voicemail or call 211 to report a hate incident and seek support from a professional trained in culturally competent communication and trauma-informed practices.