May 21, 2024 - News

California hate hotline documents 1,020 reports in first year

Photo of a protester wearing a shirt that says "Zero tolerance for hate" on the back

Demonstrators at a rally against hate in Oakland in 2021. Photo: Pat Mazzera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

California's first statewide reporting hotline for victims of hate incidents and crimes received 1,020 reports in its first year in service, according to preliminary data released by the state's Civil Rights Department.

Why it matters: The multilingual California vs Hate Resource Line and Network (CA vs. Hate), launched in response to a yearslong rise in reported hate crimes, aimed to address factors that contribute to underreporting, including fear of retaliation and distrust of law enforcement.

Driving the news: In its first full year of operation, the most common reasons cited for reporting to CA vs Hate were discriminatory treatment, verbal harassment and derogatory names or slurs.

  • Of the 1,020 reports of hate received, roughly 4 in 6 agreed to follow up for care coordination services, including support accessing legal aid or counseling.
  • Additional review by CA vs Hate staff found that race and ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation were the most cited bias motivations. Anti-Black, anti-Latino and anti-Asian bias were the most cited reasons for reports related to race and ethnicity.
  • The Bay Area itself recorded approximately 219 reports of hate among reports where people provided location information.

What they're saying: "Four years ago, I didn't have a website resource when a classmate told me to just go eat dog," Oakland-based AAPI Youth Rising founder Mina Fedor, who noted the prevalence of identity-based bullying in America, said at a press conference Monday celebrating CA vs Hate's one-year anniversary.

  • CA vs Hate will prove critical as youth navigate an "increasingly polarized world," Fedor added.
  • The portal establishes a pathway for state agencies to "ensure there is no wrong door when accessing assistance and resources," Lynda Gledhill, executive officer of the California Victim Compensation Board, told Axios via email.

Yes, but: The anonymous hotline is only one indicator that should be evaluated in conjunction with other data, such as statistics compiled by law enforcement and local community-based organizations, civil rights advocates like Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Cynthia Choi have said.

  • "We have more work to do … to earn the trust necessary for people to feel like they can pick up the phone," Kevin Kish, director of the state's Civil Rights Department, said at the press conference.

The big picture: The Bay Area has been on guard for an increase in hate incidents amid continued anti-LGBTQ sentiment, anti-Asian discrimination and fallout from the Israel-Hamas war across the country.

What to watch: CRD is launching a partnership with UC Berkeley's Possibility Lab to improve data collection and is exploring the possibility of a text-responsive reporting option.

  • It's also working on reaching communities that have been historically hard-to-reach and undeserved, including coordination with tribal partners and members.
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