By Ray Richardson
LOS ANGELES — A surge in hate crimes against African-Americans, Latinos and Asians has placed more significance on this week’s LA For All campaign, a series of events coordinated by Mayor Karen Bass’ office and the Los Angeles Civil Rights Department.
The Los Angeles Police Department released a study in June that indicated reported hate crimes in the city rose by 15% in 2022. Of the 701 reported incidents, 180 targeted African-Americans and 33 involved members of the Asian community.
“We are proud to be a city that embraces everybody, a city that does not tolerate hate,” Mayor Bass said in a statement. “When I became mayor, I called on every Angeleno to lock arms to move Los Angeles forward. Our L.A. Civil Rights Department continues to do that work by providing resources to help fight injustices and confront hatred in our city.”
The LA For All campaign kicked off Sept. 27 with the opening of nine Peace and Healing centers throughout the city. The centers were the starting points for peace walks and hosted forums for local residents to have open dialogues.
A ceremony at City Hall is planned Sept. 28 to create more awareness for the campaign. Bass is expected to join members of the City Council in saluting the campaign and announcing special lighting displays at various locations around the city.
The lighting displays, featuring color designs created by Los Angeles artist Masaki Koike, will illuminate 14 landmarks around the city at night during the campaign. The sites include City Hall, Union Station, the Los Angeles Coliseum, USC’s Galen Center, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Third Street Tunnel, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the Port of Los Angeles Historic Warehouse No. 1 and other sites.
“In response to all the hate and discrimination we’re seeing, we want to send the message that hate has no home in L.A.,” said Capri Maddox, executive director of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Department. “We will let our lights shine all over the city.”
Maddox helped create the LA For All campaign in 2022. Participation has increased for this year’s campaign. The 14 landmarks with lighting displays at night is up from seven last year. Maddox wants to make the LA For All campaign an annual event.
“We have to be intentional about this in L.A.,” Maddox said. “We will have to continue to fight for justice and equity for many years to come. We cannot slow down or think about stopping. Things are happening in the Supreme Court and society in general. Things are being done to take our rights away from us.”
Though the numbers of hate crimes and incidents appear to be rising, Maddox is encouraged by the trend that more people are reporting the situations. Lack of reporting has hindered efforts by law enforcement to provide more accurate data and prosecute persons committing the acts.
After releasing the study in June, LAPD officials said they are considering setting up a specific phone line that will generate a police response to hate crimes and incidents. The department also is planning to develop a database to keep better track of hate crimes and incidents.
“We’re seeing the progress,” Maddox said of the increased reporting. “Although the numbers are going up, people are looking out more for their neighbors. Bystanders are coming out to support them.”
The LA For All campaign continues through Sept. 30 with the Tom LaBonge Day Of Service, events planned in designated areas of the city in honor of the former City Council member. LaBonge, who represented the 4th District from 2001 to 2015, died in 2021.
City Council President Paul Krekorian will be joined by council members Nithya Raman, Monica Rodriguez, Heather Hutt and Hugo Soto-Martinez to assist residents in clean-up patrols.
Residents and council members will join together for clean-up tasks in Pacoima, Silver Lake and Koreatown neighborhoods.
For more information about LA For All, visit civilandhumanrights.lacity.gov.
Ray Richardson is a contributing writer for The Wave. He can be reached at email@example.com.
“In response to all the hate and discrimination we’re seeing, we want to send the message that hate has no home in L.A.”
— Capri Maddox, Los Angeles Civil Rights Department