Since CA Attorney General Rob Bonta got into office, he quickly established the Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement(CARE) program to better combat hate crimes within Los Angeles. CARE works directly with community organizations, state and local elected officials, and the public to help ensure the inclusion of diverse perspectives in the state’s work.
“The fact is, no part of California is immune to hate,” Bona said during a recent webinar. “Too many Asian, Latino, Black, Native American, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh Californians all across the state are hurting. It’s going to take all of us working together to take on bias and hate and their toxic effects on our society.
“As part of that, I’m launching a Racial Justice Bureau within the California Department of Justice and working to help bring together many of our major local elected leaders in a common cause against hate,” he added. “We must recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to better serve the needs of all Californians. All of our communities deserve to be seen, to be valued, and to be protected.”
Bonta has enforced The Ralph Act to help prosecute hate crimes and help community members know their rights and what measures they can take to help better protect themselves from future hate crimes.
The Ralph Act is in California Civil Code Section 51.7, according to which all individuals have the right to be free from any violence or intimidation by threat of violence committed against them or their property, whether it’s based on race, religion, color, political affiliation, ancestry, sexual orientation, sex, age, citizenship, immigration status, age, or position in a labor dispute.
A hate crime is against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim’s real or perceived protected social group. You may be the victim of a hate crime if you are targeted because of your actual or perceived: disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Hate crimes are serious crimes that may result in imprisonment or jail time.
Bonta will also be supported by the Racial Justice Bureau, which will help expand the DOJ to protect civil rights work and support new and ongoing efforts to protect all Californians. The Bureau will assist the DOJ with taking on the insidious effects of white supremacy and hate organizations on our society and being active in outreach with community organizations and law enforcement on hate crime prevention, information sharing, and reporting.
They will launch and support investigations as appropriate and recognize the urgent need to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. They will help law enforcement by issuing guidance to prosecutors and other public entities regarding shared challenges in providing public safety. The Bureau will also help African Americans by assisting with the implementation of the new task force as authorized under Assembly Bill 3121.
For any questions or concerns about the DOJ services and hate crimes, visit https://tinyurl.com/3hrn683t.
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.