SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A coalition of California lawmakers announced their support Monday for a basket of bills designed to address the rise of hate crimes in the state.
The push for hate crime legislation is in response to 3,000 incidents of racially-motivated hate crimes against Asian Pacific Islander Americans in 2020 nationwide, according to the lawmakers.
Many of the victims are in California.
“Our Asian American community has been yelled at, spat on, shoved down and beat up, slashed and disfigured and murdered,” explained Assembly Member Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, who is the first Filipino American elected to the state legislature.
Bonta largely blamed former President Donald Trump for fueling dangerous perceptions.
“Messages of hate, and cruelty,” Bonta explained. “Of xenophobia and racism, China virus, Kung Flu. We are suffering from that today.”
Bonta was joined by members of the Latino, Black, Jewish and LGBTQ caucuses in backing bills that would stiffen penalties for those convicted of hate crimes, provide support for victims, enhance training for law enforcement to better identify hate crimes and provide money for stepping up security for targeted ethnic institutions.
“African Americans have been facing this for 400 years in this country,” Sen. Steve Bradford, D-Los Angeles, explained. “If it’s happening there today, it’ll be in your backyard tomorrow.”
Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said a unified message from groups that have been victimized in the past is important.
“That we will not accept hate, we will reject those who express hate, and who act on hate,” Pan said.
Some of these proposals in the hate crime package have been through the legislature before and did not pass.
The group of legislators said the need is greater than ever and hope that by banding together the outcome may be different.