California vs. Hate Resource Line is Entering Second Year of Service

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By McKenzie Jackson | California Black Media

The California vs. Hate Resource Line, established to assist victims of hate crimes and hate incidents in the Golden State, received 823 calls from 79% of California’s 58 counties during its first nine months of operation. The telephone line’s first anniversary is in May.

Since its launch, callers have dialed the hotline at 833-8-NO-HATE to report instances of prejudice motivated by a range of factors. Additionally, they have received help connecting with groups that provide support to individuals and communities targeted by hate.

“There is support, when you report,” said James Williams Jr., a community-based organization manager with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).

Recently, a Zoom meeting organized by Ethnic Media Services highlighted CRD’s non-emergency hate reporting system and efforts to combat discrimination in the state. State officials and community partners participated in the discussion.

Williams said the initial year has been successful.
“In year two, we plan to increase outreach and engagement, and we’re looking to data experts to assist us with data collection reporting efforts to provide transparency and public-facing reports,” he announced.

California vs. Hate Resource Line Senior Manager Chantel Bermudez said between the hotline’s launch in May 2023 and the end of last month, 42% of the calls received reported discrimination motivated by race, ethnicity, or country of origin. Callers also reported hate actions aggravated by religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, she added.

Bermudez said the three main goals of the resource line are to identify options and next steps for callers, connect them with culturally competent resources, and improve hate crime and hate incident reporting and data to enhance prevention and response.

Notably, officials did not disclose any numbers related to the racial or ethnic background of the callers during the meeting but said more statistics will be available closer to the telephone line’s anniversary date.

Santa Barbara NAACP President Connie Alexander-Boaitey expressed concern about whether Black Californians were aware of the hotline. She said that Blacks are the victims of more hate crimes and hate incidents than any other ethnic or minority group in the state. Alexander-Boaitey stated that documented hate behaviors against Blacks increased 27% from 2021 to 2022, which includes a 29% increase in discriminatory crimes and incidents against members of the Black LGBTQ community.

Alexander-Boaitey said despite Black students only making up 6% of California’s public-school population, they experience the highest rate of prejudiced bullying and harassment.

“That picture looks like the N-word being constantly said and even physical violence,” she explained. “If you talk to NAACP leaders around the state, we will tell you that this is the highest thing reported to our NAACP units — the school violence specifically targeted at Black students. The hurtful part — where we are really struggling — is what happens between communities. Unfortunately, this hate and violence, the majority of it is happening from Latinx students toward Black students. We aren’t talking about it, but it’s happening every day.”

Cynthia Choi, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and a Civil Rights Department commissioner, said hate against various groups is rising in America, but also stated that most reported prejudiced actions are against Blacks.

“People are in distress,” she explained. “Often times there is conflict, incidents that occur that can be racialized, especially in an environment that has been hostile toward immigrants, people of color, people who are trans or gender nonconforming. Hate begets hate. The more work together to address this, the better off we will be in California.”
Choi said California has the most robust response to hate.
“Not only when it happens, but with a real focus and investment on critical intervention and preventative measures,” she said. “The California vs. Hate hotline is an incredible response. What it is really signaling is that we are creating systems of care. That we want to respond and be resource to individuals. Everyone is treated with care.”
The California vs. Hate Resource Line is not a law enforcement platform. It is staffed 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday by care coordinators, who are individuals trained in responding to trauma. If an individual calls outside of the phone lines’ working hours, they can leave a message, and someone will call them back within 24 hours or the next business day. Californians can file a report by phone in 200 languages or online at CAvsHate.org in 15 languages. All calls are confidential, and victims can remain anonymous. Immigration status is not a factor.
Care coordinators have helped 66% of callers connect with community action and social advocacy groups, general counsel, and consumer complaint assistance.
Operators with the 211 LA nonprofit, community assistance line are among the care coordinators. 211LA Program Director Yolie Anguiano said the hotline is a safe place.
“Our call specialists will guide you through the conversation, so you can explain what you experienced in a very empathetic manner,” she noted.
Bermudez said the resource line is equipped to help.
“Individuals don’t have to know if it’s a hate crime or hate incident,” she explained. “They can call us, and we can help them through the process. A lot of times, they are not sure and are afraid to call, but we can help them with that.”

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