Antonio Ray Harvey| California Black Media
Community and advocacy groups joined government officials and other leaders last week to kick off California’s sixth annual United Against Hate Week (UAHW) in Berkeley.
The city of Berkeley in partnership with Not In Our Town, LA vs Hate, the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) held the ceremony on Nov. 13 with government and community at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley.
The event was organized to raise awareness about discrimination, encourage cross-racial and cross-cultural tolerance, and inspire Californians to push back against the rise of hate crimes and hate incidents in their communities.
“This is a week of action where we recommit to working together, reckoning with our history, and building stronger communities for all. It’s about coming together even — and especially when — these conversations feel hardest to push for action,” said Becky Monroe, Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs at the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).
“Whether it’s the Civil Rights Department, the California Department of Social Services, the State Library, Department of Justice, Department of Education or elsewhere in government, we’ve been committed to the fight against hate and building on past efforts to spur on new initiatives,” Monroe added. California has made statewide, historic investments to back up that commitment to make sure funding gets directly to the advocates and the service providers who are working day-in and day-out with individuals and communities who are targeted for hate.”
Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee said he hopes more awareness will encourage victims of hate to use resources available to them like the CRD’s hate crime reporting hotline.
“With hate crimes increasing in California and different views spurring debate that sometimes turns hostile, movements like United Against Hate Week become more vital,” said Ting.
At the event, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín welcomed UAHW stakeholders and mentioned how his city contributed to the creation of the initiative.
“Berkeley is proud to have a founding role in United Against Hate Week,” said Arreguín. “Over the last few years, we have seen this event grow exponentially, yet there is still so much work to be done. Now more than ever, in the face of growing hate crimes, we must take a stand to bring our communities together against hatred.”
Throughout UAHW, local government and community partners hosted dozens of anti-hate events across California — from poetry slams to rallies, and more. In addition, the CRD announced the release of new statistics showing approximately 513 reports of hate to California vs Hate, the state’s telephone hotline anti-hate online resource in the first six months since its launch.
Across the state, reported hate crimes have continued to rise in recent years, reaching their highest levels since 2001 — jumping more than 20% from 2021 to 2022.
Reported hate crimes targeting Black people remain the most prevalent, increasing 27.1% from 513 in 2021 to 652 in 2022, while reported anti-Asian hate crime events decreased by 43.3% from 247 in 2021 to 140 in 2022.
Reported hate crime events involving sexual orientation bias increased 29% from 303 in 2021 to 391 in 2022.
“Black people are disproportionately impacted by hate crimes in California, which is why the NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference is proud to participate in the sixth annual United Against Hate Week,” said Rick L. Callender, President of the organization.
“The NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference, in conjunction with our 57 branches across California, is dedicated and committed to eradicating hate within our state through community action,” Callender added.
UAHW was formed by local government and community leaders in the Bay Area responding to rallies White Supremacist held in 2017. One of those rallies was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley where the UAHW launch event took place.
“We’re honored to stand with this coalition of organizers and leaders who are committed to pushing back against hate for the safety of all residents,” said Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission President Ilan Davidson. “Through community partnerships, organizing, and activism, we have created a unique, holistic program and an expanding system that is working to ensure peace and safety for all of our communities.”
A key component of the state’s anti-hate initiatives is CA vs Hate. In the first six months, hundreds of Californians have contacted the service to report hate crimes.
“During United Against Hate Week, we encourage all Californians to take advantage of existing resources — like California vs Hate — to push for change from the ground up for all our communities. Whether it’s
because of conflict abroad or here at home, it takes real strength to stand in solidarity in the face of bias and discrimination,” said CRD Acting Director Mary Wheat.
Since its inception, UAHW has spread to over 200-plus communities. Faith-based groups, civil rights advocates and other community based and civil rights organizations across California organize events each year to commemorate it.
“By supporting bills such as AB 449 (Ting), the CA vs Hate Hotline, and our collaborative efforts with the (California Department of Social Services’) Stop the Hate grant, we will make a positive difference in the statistics we have seen persist for far too long,” Callender stated.
This California Black Media report was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.