County launches campaign to reduce hate incidents

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The county’s “United Against Hate Week 2021” is underway — a blend of art, social media and educational resources urging communities to reject hate and bigotry and promote inclusion and understanding.

The campaign officially began Nov. 14 and runs through Nov. 20.

The increase in hate crimes this past year reinforces the need to speak up and take a stand with United Against Hate Week,” county Supervisor Holly Mitchell said. “In a county as large and diverse as ours, it is our humanity that holds us together, and there is no reason why we cannot celebrate our differences.

As we know from Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,’” she added.

The events during the weeklong campaign range from workshops to walkathons.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said a broad-based approach is required to push back against hate speech and violence.

Many public places such as our transportation systems are open and easily accessible to attacks by hate actors,” Barger said. “As county leaders, we must focus our efforts into combating hate at every possible touch point to keep the public safe.”

A recent report on hate crime by the county’s Human Relations Commission revealed an increase in hate crimes to the highest level reported since 2008.

Robin Toma, executive director of the commission, said it’s not only up to public officials to combat hate.

LA vs Hate calls on everyone to do something, big or small, and become connected to the overwhelming numbers of us who are against hate and bigotry,” Toma said.

Officials urged residents to take action by going to www.lavshate.org/united-against-hate-week and using the toolkits, participating in an event, and getting involved at the community level.

Debra Duardo, superintendent of the county’s Office of Education, said all school districts will be alerted to the event’s goals, which include “safe schools, inclusive classrooms and alerting staff to the dangers of bullying and bias.”

Blue Shield of California is also supporting the effort, which includes bystander and mass meditation training and art resiliency projects for all ages.

The LA vs. Hate Coalition is led by the county’s Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services and the L.A. County Human Relations Commission.

The initiative has three components:

A community-driven public engagement campaign to encourage residents and organizations to unite against and report acts of hate.

• One of the first government hotlines for reporting all acts of hate and providing assistance to hate victims via 211.

• And a network of community agencies that can address systemic prejudice by providing hate prevention and rapid response advocacy and services.

A full list of United Against Hate Week activities and graphics ready-made for posting on social media can be found at https://www.lavshate.org/.

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