Orange County organization among many combating hate through historic state funding

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Friday, August 5, 2022
OC organization combating hate through historic state funding
The state of California made a historic investment toward preventing and responding to hate - an effort that sprung forth due to rising anti-Asian hate. Here's how that funding will help local communities.

The state of California made a historic investment toward preventing and responding to hate through a more than $165 million Asian and Pacific Islander Equity Budget and its Stop the Hate Campaign.

"It's through the California Department of Social Services, in partnership with the Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American affairs, and it was funding that was really advocated for through the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus," said Mary Anne Foo, executive director of the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA).

"A small group of us started it in response to a number of things, but at the time, a horrific hate crime had occurred," said Foo about how OCAPICA was founded.

In 1996, 24-year-old Thien Minh Ly, a Vietnamese American, was murdered by a white supremacist while skating at Tustin High School.

"This was in the '90s in Orange County, and we felt like we needed to start an organization that would address resources for community members, as well as you know, look at not only hate crimes, but civil rights," said Foo.

Now, through the state grants, OCAPICA is allocating millions of dollars to support other organizations and expand its resources like in-language services among many other efforts.

"For example, in the Laguna Woods killing at the Taiwanese church, there, it was really hard to find resources such as mental health services in Taiwanese for the seniors, it was hard to find victims' assistance services in Taiwanese," she said.

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The Orange County church targeted by a gunman on May 15, began the healing process on Saturday with a ceremony honoring the victims and the doctor hailed as a hero.

Foo, a 4th generation Chinese and Japanese Californian also stresses the importance of unity across diverse communities through this initiative.

"It's really important to work with the Black communities, Latinx communities, Jewish communities, Muslim communities -- hate affects us all," said Foo.

This latest round of funding is for transformative grants including things like prevention, intervention and direct services. Among the 12 organizations included in this round of funding are the Council on American Islamic Relations CA, The Coalition for Community Safety and Justice, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA).

"This funding is the first of its kind. No one has invested this amount of money towards anti-hate efforts," said Foo. "So, it's so significant that it will move the needle."

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"I was heartbroken by seeing all of these attacks happen throughout the nation," said Tony Dang, founder of Seniors Fight Back.