BAKERSFIELD – As part of a statewide effort to address hate, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today was joined by Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and local leaders for an anti-hate roundtable discussion. The roundtable in Bakersfield is the 11th in a series of meetings led by Attorney General Bonta across the state to bring together local elected officials, law enforcement officers, and community leaders to discuss best practices in addressing hate crime. The roundtables are broadly aimed at developing strategies to address bias and hate, increasing awareness around available resources for members of the public, and strengthening responses to hate crimes and incidents in California.
“There is no place for hate in California, and now more than ever, we must stand united against hate and extremism,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The community involvement and local support of cities across California aids in better understanding awareness of the issue to identify best practices to eliminate the staggering rise of hate and extremism. I want to thank Mayor Goh and local leaders in Bakersfield for their partnership and commitment to combating the rise of hate, fostering holistic, community-based responses, and providing resources where they are most needed. Every Californian deserves to feel safe in their cities and communities."
“Hatred of our brothers and sisters has no place in the City of Bakersfield,” said Mayor Karen Goh. “I thank the Attorney General for bringing the community together for this important discussion.”
In 2021, California experienced an alarming 32.6% overall increase in reported hate crimes, the highest number of reported hate crimes in the state since the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Although not captured in statewide hate crime statistics, it’s also important to remember that hate incidents — acts that do not rise to the level of a crime — are also incredibly harmful and can leave lasting, negative impacts on all our communities. The critical discussion held today focused on developing community-based solutions to protect residents and communities from harm.
Attorney General Bonta has issued a series of reports, guidance, and resources to help the public and law enforcement better understand and address hate crimes in California. Given the ongoing challenge presented by hate crime, the Attorney General urges leaders across the state and members of the public to review and make use of these important resources, which include a law enforcement bulletin summarizing applicable civil and criminal hate crime laws, guidance to prosecutors to help strengthen prosecution and enforcement, and brochures and fact sheets in more than two dozen languages to assist Californians in identifying and responding to hate crime events. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta also released a special report on anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic, which offers important context and analysis regarding the recent increases in anti-Asian hate crime events.
Attorney General Bonta launched the Racial Justice Bureau, which, among other things, supports the California Department of Justice’s broader mandate to advance the civil rights of all Californians by assisting with new and ongoing efforts to combat hate and bias. In 2021, the Attorney General began proactively engaging with local city leaders in the 13 biggest cities in California through roundtables in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, Riverside, Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Jose, Stockton, and Anaheim.
More broadly, the Attorney General is deeply committed to responding to the needs of historically marginalized and underrepresented communities and, in July 2021, also launched the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement to work directly with community organizations and members of the public as part of the effort to advance justice for all Californians.
Members of the public can further explore hate crime data on OpenJustice.
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime, notify local law enforcement and consider taking the following steps:
Reports of hate incidents can also be made to the California Civil Rights Department CA v. Hate hotline and online portal at any time in 15 languages or by calling (833) 866-4283 or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and talking to a trained civil rights agent in over 200 languages. Outside of those hours, people can leave a voicemail or call 211 to report a hate incident and seek support from a professional trained in culturally competent communication and trauma-informed practices.