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Orange County hosts hate crime discussion for residents

January 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A meeting was held in Orange County on Sunday to allow people to speak up about racially motivated harassment and vandalism.

The afternoon event held at Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda was the second of three gatherings organized in response to hate crimes against a family who lived in the city. About 100 people gathered at what the Orange County Human Relations Commission described as a listening session.

In October, an African-American couple reported several alleged hate crimes to the commission. They said rocks were thrown through their windows in the middle of the night, car tires were slashed, racial epithets were yelled at one of their two sons and acid pellets were fired into their garage. The family said they were forced to move away.

"It became a community issue," said Rev. Kenneth Curry of Friendship Baptist Church. "The community became aware of it, there were members in our church that were very concerned and they wanted to know, 'What can we do to address this issue?'"

The commission said African Americans are the most frequent target of hate crimes in the county.

"I think it resonates among the Africa-American community that there are things that are happening not to everybody, not all the time, not the defining reality, but part of life that we're very unaware of and the rest of the community, and that's why we're here," said Rusty Kennedy, the commission's executive director.

A similar meeting is scheduled to be held in Santa Ana.


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