EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of an ongoing CALÓ NEWS series on the state of hate in LA and California. If you are an expert on the subject, a victim, an activist, or community leader, please contact us at email@example.com. To follow the series, click here.
In an effort to combat hate and implicit biases, the City of Los Angeles and the California Civil Rights Department are putting together a series of events to create awareness to the rise of hate and discrimination that has become a dangerous threat to safety and civility both locally and statewide.
United Against Hate Week (UAHW) originated in 2017 as a poster campaign in Bay Area cities in response to white supremacist rallies that took place in Berkeley, San Francisco and other communities. Today, UAHW has spread to about 90 organizations and cities across the country.
The city of LA began to host and organize UAHW for its residents in 2018 through LA vs. Hate, a community-centered system designed to support all communities targeted for hate acts and led by the LA County Commission on Human Relations.
The goals of LA vs. Hate are to address the normalization of hate, inspire people to stand up to it, build understanding about what constitutes a hate act and how to report it and support individuals and communities as they heal from hate-inflicted trauma.
The week of action is designed to “raise awareness about the dangers of hate and the need for respect and civil discourse among all county residents and students,” as stated on the LA vs. Hate website. “This week we will focus on actions that community members can take to build stronger connections with civic leaders, businesses and schools in order to create an inclusive and accepting LA.”
City and statewide leaders believe that the need to organize UAHW is greater in 2023 than ever as California continues to break hate crime records. A report released in June by the office of California’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, and the California Department of Justice shows that hate crimes in the state continue to be on the rise. In 2021, there were 1,763 hate crimes reported in California; in 2022, there were 2,120, making this a 20% surge in hate crimes reported in the Golden State. Throughout the entire state, LA County had the highest number of hate crimes recorded (857 hate crimes, including 609 in the city of LA).
“This effort of UAHW began almost seven years ago. [California] is the poster-child of this. We are doing this as California. Let us be the lead and the beacon. We can be the beacon for the week, focusing on what we can do as communities to stand up against hate, “ said Jacquelyn Mccormick, Chief of Staff to Berkeley Mayor, Jesse Arreguin.
The city’s own reports also reflect a similar story. According to a report by the Los Angeles Police Department released in July of this year, hate crimes in LA rose by 15% in 2022. The department’s analysis revealed 701 hate crimes and hate incidents in 2022, compared with 610 in 2021. 90 of those were anti-Hispanic hate crimes.
This will be the first year that CA vs Hate, a new multilingual statewide hotline and online portal that provides a safe, anonymous reporting option for victims and witnesses of hate acts, will be an organizer of UAHW. CA vs Hate was officially launched in May 2023 and is led by the California Civil Rights Department. Hate crime survivors living in a part of the Golden State can anonymously call 1- 833-866-4283 (1-833-8-NO-HATE) and receive support services from CA vs Hate care coordinators, who are on duty Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“No matter how many years you have participated in UAHW, whether this is your first year or not, welcome,” said Anthony Rodriguez, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of the City of Berkeley.
This year’s UAHW will officially launch at an in-person event that will take place on Monday, November 13, 2023, in Berkeley, CA, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. Locally in the City of LA, UAHW will also kick off in person in South LA at the Willowbrook Senior Center at 11 a.m.
There are various events taking place across California and Los Angeles for this year’s United Against Hate Week. LA vs. Hate will join Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell to commemorate the beginning of the week-long initiative by unveiling a new mural that celebrates LA County’s Black community.
There are at least four to five events each day throughout the week-long approach to combating hate. “Singing Heals Fireside Song Circle” is one of the very first events to take place in Santa Cruz. The event will consist of using singing as a unique and powerful tool for healing. “An accessible and community-based approach to singing, these circles are a safe space for all of us to sing, feel and heal together,“ states the official UAHW website.
LA County, specifically the City of Pasadena, will be hosting “Allyship is Action: Bystander Training” on November 16 at the Western Justice Center. The event will consist of free, public training to learn exactly what to do when we witness an incident of hate in a public space and how we can mobilize to provide resources for survivors of hate in the aftermath.
UAHW will also have free virtual events for those who cannot make it to in-person events. “Countering Antisemitism and Islamophobia at Home in the Shadow of a Foreign Crisis” is an event taking place virtually on November 16, which will help participants learn ways to respond to everyday bigotry and to counter antisemitism and Islamophobia at home.
UAHW organizers also encourage and provide tools for people to organize their own events aimed at combating hate during November 12 through 18. Some of the ideas listed consist of hosting a poetry slam; organizing a “teach-in,” a panel of community leaders, professors, or subject experts to discuss the latest hate crime statistics; and holding a community walk to promote unity and organizing a student march or rally, among other actions.
“There are about 40 events so far planned. There are tons and tons of things going on already in your community, so if you are like, ‘Ugh, there’s no time to plan my own event,’ don’t worry. There’s probably something already happening that you can help share,” said Dana Coffman, VP, Social Impact Marketing at TaskForce.
Learn more about United Against Hate Week and other upcoming events here. If you’re interested in planning an activation or having your community issue a UAHW proclamation, check out our toolkit here.
NOTE: CALÓ NEWS is committed to reporting on hate crimes related to Latinos, from victims to perpetrators to changemakers. If you or your organization would like to share your expertise regarding hate crime prevention in Los Angeles and Southern California, please contact Brenda Fernanda Verano at firstname.lastname@example.org.