Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and Robin Toma, executive director of the County Commission on Human Relations, recently announced a series of community-based forums to inform a joint-action plan against hate in LA County.
“We are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse counties in America, but the strength of our diversity also makes us vulnerable to hate-based threats and violence. The recent rise in hate incidents across our county is unacceptable,” Gascón said. “We must ensure the safety of all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity or sexual orientation. To address the recent rise in hate crimes and incidents, my office will lead a series of community-based forums to create a thoughtful and inclusive plan of action to resist hate in Los Angeles County.”
In Los Angeles County, reports of hate crimes increased by 76 percent at the start of the pandemic, according to a Commission on Human Relations report.
“I’m saddened but not surprised by the rise in hate crimes in California, as reported yesterday by Attorney General Bonta,” Toma said. “As the agency which has been tracking hate crimes in Los Angeles County for more than 40 years, our commission is well aware that the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing prejudices which have led to a record number of year after year increases in hate crimes totals for our county. So I’m excited to bring our Commission’s expertise and LA vs Hate resources to partner with the top law enforcement officer in Los Angeles County, District Attorney Gascón, to rid hate violence from this diverse county where I was born and raised.”
Gascón is calling upon members of various advisory boards that he created over the past 18 months to assist in this endeavor. Last October, he announced the launch of a two-year, post-conviction pilot project that aims to reduce hate crime. Using a federal grant, the Reconciliation Education and Counseling Crimes of Hate Program will provide those who are on probation with counseling, anti-bias education and victim reconciliation.
This article is a part of a series of articles for Our Weekly’s #StopTheHate campaign and is supported in whole or part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.