Police officers father in front of the now-closed S.K. Uyeda Store on First Street in Little Tokyo over the weekend. Patrols in Asian American neighborhoods have been stepped up amid an increase in hate crimes and violence. (Photo by Michael James)

Amidst a surge in hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders gathered for a live, televised event hosted by the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department to condemn hate and discrimination, share resources for victims, and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents.

“The horrific shootings in Atlanta are a stark and painful reminder that prejudice against our AAPI neighbors must never go unchecked in our city, state, or nation — and that bigotry in any form violates our values as Americans and Angelenos,” said Garcetti. “We stand united in our intolerance for the racism and hate directed at our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Everybody belongs in L.A., and we are committed to keeping everyone safe from harassment, abuse, and violence.”

“With pandemic-fueled hate incidents surging against Asian-Americans, it’s vital to stand with our AAPI community and commit ourselves to confronting aggression and discrimination in all its forms,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “From the early days of COVID, my office has worked to protect our Asian American neighbors, and we’ll continue to collaborate with community members and law enforcement partners to tackle this disturbing trend head-on. I want to emphasize that my office’s Hate Crimes Unit will thoroughly review any case referred to us, and when it’s warranted, aggressively prosecute.”

“The victims of the hateful attack in Atlanta are a stark example of the compounded vulnerability faced by women, low-wage workers, and immigrants to the already heightened bigotry faced by the AAPI community across our country,” said City Councilmember Nithya Raman. “Los Angeles is a city that is dear to my heart because it has always welcomed me, as an Asian American, a woman, and an immigrant, with open arms. There is no place for this hatred in our city, and both my office and I will do everything within our power to ensure L.A. remains the welcoming and safe place I know it to be.”

“Hate can have no home in Los Angeles, and we want to make clear to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community that we see you, we value you, and we will do everything we can to keep you safe,” said Capri Maddox, executive director of the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, or L.A. Civil Rights. “If anyone sees or experiences hate in Los Angeles, please report it to law enforcement or one of the many community organizations here to help. We cannot let hate go unchecked.”

The event, “No Place For Hate,” shared critical reporting information for victims of hate crimes and hate incidents from city, county and nonprofit sources. Other speakers included LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala and Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON). It aired live on LA Cityview (Channel 35), YouTube and Facebook, and can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu6_HB1VKoo

“Stop AAPI Hate has seen hate incidents continue to rise across Los Angeles in 2021, reflecting a national trend of discrimination and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Kulkarni, who is also co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, which formed in March 2020 to track rising hate incidents against the AAPI community. “The vast majority of hate incidents cannot be charged as a formal crime, but can be reported to Stop AAPI Hate. I urge anyone who has experienced hate to come forward so we can track these incidents, support victims, and advocate for our community.”

“The freedoms we enjoy must not be stifled by ignorance or lack of respect for the diversity of humanity,” said Girmala. “The department honors and appreciates the unique contributions of all within the Los Angeles community and will support their rights and safety as the highest priority.”

Leaders urged anyone who has seen or experienced a hate crime or hate incident to come forward, reflecting that hate crimes and hate incidents often go unreported. Stop AAPI Hate has recorded 360 hate crimes and hate incidents in Los Angeles County between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021 alone.

Hate crimes reported to the LAPD have risen from 229 in 2016 to 355 in 2020, a more than 55% increase over the past five years. A recent LAPD report revealed that reported hate crimes against AAPIs more than doubled in 2020, but they were not the only group facing an increase in attacks. Hate crimes against Hispanic individuals increased last year by 35.7%, against gay men 29.6%, and transgender individuals 26.1%, according to the report. While hate crimes increased 4.7% in 2020, hate incidents in the City of Los Angeles went up by nearly 16%.

A hate crime is a criminal act directed against a person based on their actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. Victims can report a hate crime by calling or texting 911, or by visiting any LAPD police station.

A hate incident is a hateful act that does not meet the criteria of a crime, including hateful language or flyers. Though not technically a crime, hate incidents can cause lasting trauma on victims and communities, and represent the majority of hateful acts recorded. Hate incidents can be reported to the LAPD, as well as L.A. County’s 211, or to community groups such as Stop AAPI Hate. Victims who report a hate incident to 211 have the option of being followed up with by a Care Coordinator to refer victims to relevant support resources.

A list of hate crime and hate incident reporting resources can be found at: http://civilandhumanrights.lacity.org/stophate

L.A. Civil Rights was established on Dec. 1, 2020 to maintain and strengthen Los Angeles’ diversity, equity, and accountability through equity and empowerment programming, outreach, and anti-discrimination enforcement. (http://civilandhumanrights.lacity.org)

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