Solutions to Hate Crime Problems in CA Exist
International Panel Offers Different Approaches to Accomplish Goals
CALIFORNIA (May 17, 2023) – ACT Against Hate Alliance (AAHA) is a California organization that formed in response to a rising number of hate crimes. The California Attorney General highlighted this problem in a report to the State Legislature. Hate crime numbers are up in nearly every city and community. They are at their highest point in 20 years.
The AAHA is dedicated to finding the cause behind this increase, plus finding a solution. Although this is a California problem, the incidence of hate crimes is not confined to one state, area, or country.
“Our organization needs to speak with leaders from around the world and outside the state to see how extensive this problem is, and solutions that have been implemented to bring these numbers down,” said Bob Huff, former California State Senate Minority Leader, and co-founder of AAHA. “Can policies and actions that have been implemented elsewhere work for California and provide the solution this state needs?”
The most recent AAHA forum (May 2023) drew the support of California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. A native of Northern California, she has been a witness to the rise in hate crime attacks committed in her own community, and supports AAHA efforts to find a solution.
“Lots of people are still dealing with depression and sometimes need positive words or actions,” the CA State Treasurer said during today’s forum. “If you sense that any friends or family members are dealing with this depression, reach out and help them. Call them up. Take them out to lunch. Take them to an event. Get them out of their homes.”
The solutions offered by both international and statewide leaders to the rising tide of hate crimes varied. Tamás Berecz serves as the General Manager of the International Network Against Cyber Hate. His organization is in the Netherlands, but serves all the European Union.
“Educational programs implemented at a very early stage can be extremely helpful,” Berecz said during today’s AAHA forum. “Education about the harmful effects of hate speech and discrimination in general can be extremely important, especially in the areas of Europe where I am from.”
Maria Daniella Marouda serves as the Chair of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance. She agrees with the aspect of educational programs championed by Berecz. But she also believes that law enforcement must also play an important role to reduce crimes of hate.
“Building trust with institutions such as local law enforcement would help put people at ease and help give them incentive to report these crimes and ask for help,” Marouda suggested as a solution to reducing hate crimes. “Legislation could also be introduced to help protect these victims.”
Dennis Santiago believes in a fundamental shift in terms of public policy to bring a reduction in crimes of hate. Santiago is the Chief Operating Officer for the National Diversity Coalition in California.
“We really need a cultural shift in how we approach this problem,” Santiago said. “We need solutions that do not perpetuate the mistakes that may have been made in the past.”
There is no one solution to stopping or reducing crimes of hate. That’s the opinion of Laura E. Ellsworth. She is a Partner-in-Charge of Global Community Service Initiatives at Jones Day, a multinational law firm headquartered in Cleveland, OH.
“Every single person, regardless of where you live and regardless of your profession is, can play a role in this solution,” Ellsworth said. “No one thing will ever solve it. But it can be solved if everyone stands up and becomes a part of the solution.”
ACT Against Hate Alliance will continue this effort to find solutions to the rising number of hate crimes in California with another in a series of forums scheduled for June 14th at 11:00 AM. For more information about this upcoming event, or to take part in this collaborative process, please visit the website www.actagainsthate.org.