Anti-hate campaign received 1,000 reports in first year

By Antonio Ray Harvey 

Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO — Slightly more than 1,000 hate crimes were reported during the first year of the California vs. Hate campaign that is operated by the California Civil Rights Department.

The department shared the results of the state’s first-ever multilingual resource to tackle the surge in hate incidents May 20.

Civil Rights Department Director Kevin Kish, state officials, media outlets and community partners from across the state came together to mark the initiative’s first anniversary at a news conference held at the Secretary of State’s Office, using data provided by the University of California Berkeley’s Possibility Lab.

“This work is only just beginning, but it would not be possible without the advocacy of our community partners and the foresight of our state’s administration and Legislature,” Kish saidd. “With CA vs Hate, we’re doing our part to ensure that when people report they get support.”

The campaign was launched last May by Gov. Gavin Newsom to offer a safe, anonymous reporting option for victims and witnesses of hate acts. 

In its first year, CA vs Hate had 2,118 inquires from members of the public seeking assistance and directed people to resources, regardless of whether a report was tied to an act of hate.

The most frequently reported reasons cited were discriminatory treatment (18.4%), verbal harassment (16.7%), and derogatory names or slurs (16.7%). Additionally, most of the hate incidents were reported as residential (29.9%), workplace (9.7%), and in public facilities (9.1%).

Ca vs Hate received 1,020 actual hate incident reports based on the information provided by the individual reporting the act. Of those reports, about four out of six people agreed to follow up for care coordination services, including direct and ongoing support accessing legal aid or counseling.

Nearly 80% of California’s counties were represented in the data, including all 10 of the state’s most populated counties.

The CA vs Hate staff reviewed 560 reports, revealing the primary motivations for bias were race and ethnicity (35.1%), gender identity (15.1%), and sexual orientation (10.8%).

Anti-Black (26.8%), anti-Latino (15.4%), and anti-Asian (14.3%) bias were the most cited reasons for reports related to race and ethnicity, according to the report.

As reported hate crimes have risen in recent years, California has led the charge in responding through increased grant funding and expansive outreach efforts across state government in collaboration with community-based organizations.

These partnerships — whether through the Stop the Hate Program or Ethnic Media Outreach Grants — are critical to CA vs Hate’s success, according to the Civil Rights Department. As the campaign continues to grow, the program is launching new initiatives and building on existing efforts aimed at enhancing the hotline and online platform’s statewide support network and improving access for all of California’s diverse communities.

A year ago, the Civil Rights Department released preliminary data of a total of 180 acts of hate reported through the resource one month after CA vs Hate was launched. Out of those incidents, 102 were reported over the phone, while 78 were made via the online portal.

“I’m going to highlight that this program is new, and the data should not be treated as representative of all acts of hate in our state,” Kish said. “We have more work to do to reach Californians that might be targeted to earn the trust necessary for people to feel they can pick up the phone and contact the government. We’re not resting on our laurels.”

Kish also announced that the Civil Rights Department is kicking off CA vs Hate’s first-ever billboard campaign to raise awareness about the hotline and a partnership with UC Berkeley’s Possibility Lab to enhance data collection and analysis.

In addition, the department has recently formed a partnership with California Black Media. That collaboration aims to bolster engagement within communities that are most often the targets of hate, utilizing the federal Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act grant to ensure these communities have access to resources.

“The support from the California Department of Civil Rights coupled with the California State Library Ethnic Media Grants have strategic, and what I like to say, smart use of federal and state resources that have helped us advance our common goal of reporting and reducing hate crimes in our communities,” said California Black Media Executive Director Regina Brown-Wilson.

California has increased its grant funding, created innovative programs and expanded outreach efforts across state government, working in collaboration with community-based organizations.

The partnerships — whether through the Stop the Hate Program or Ethnic Media Outreach Grants — are “crucial and important parts of California’s comprehensive approach to combating hating,” Kish said.

Ethnic media platforms have also been a key component of strengthening the hotline’s statewide support network and improving access to resources for all of California’s diverse communities. Civil Rights Department Deputy Director Becky Monroe added that ethnic media’s role of communicating with communities through radio, print and online technology is essential because underserved communities see them as “trusted messengers.”

“We are proud to work with ethnic media because we know that in the past, we have not done justice to those stories. You all do justice to those stories,” Monroe said. “Through this partnership, we are able to effectively reach the communities we want to reach.”

CA vs Hate is a non-emergency, multilingual hate crime and incident reporting hotline and online portal. Reports can be made anonymously by calling (833) 866-4283 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or online at any time.

Hate acts can be reported in 15 different languages through the online portal and in over 200 languages when calling the hotline. For individuals who want to report a hate crime to law enforcement immediately or who are in imminent danger, please call 911.

For more information on CA vs Hate, please visit CAvsHate.org.

Antonio Ray Harvey is a reporter for California Black Media.

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