California Attorney General Rob Bonta stressed that gathering data is one helpful component: "So we can fully understand that the scope and depth and dimensions of the problem," Bonta said Tuesday.
According to the attorney general's office's latest hate crime report, 2020 reached the highest reported level of bias incidents in more than a decade at just over 1,300.
"For many of us, hate crimes and hate violence is personal," said Bonta.
The report tracked a 107% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020. Anti-Black bias events were most prevalent, increasing from 243 in 2019 to 456 in 2020.
"When the institutions only highlight whiteness, it makes everything that's not white, seem insignificant and unimportant," Amir Sundiata-Rashid, an Oakland community member.
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"We see the rise in attacks against Asians as not just an issue around safety but also a health issue for our community," said Thu Quach, president of Asian Health Services.
The report includes guidance for law enforcement and prosecutors on how to ensure fair application of hate crime laws, and identify forms of sentencing or restorative justice approaches to prosecution. It also includes a brochure in more than 20 languages, including advice for anyone who may witness or be a victim of a hate crime.
It may be hard to know how to react in the moment. Some tips to keep in mind include:
- Write down the exact words that were used and other relevant facts so you don't forget.
- If it's safe to do so, take pictures and save evidence.
- Write down contact information of other victims or witnesses.
The report acknowledges that hate crimes are under reported often as a result of apprehension regarding interaction with law enforcement.
"We need to make sure that not only are we listening and gathering the data that will guide us to the solutions that we need, but we need to make sure that we're recognizing the intersectionality between between us," said State Assemblymember Mia Bonta.