Preventing and Combatting Identity-Based Hate and Violence in LA County

On March 19, 2024, the LA County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion focused on Combatting Identity-Based Hate in Los Angeles County through a Comprehensive, Proactive, and Equitable Strategy. The motion highlights the meaningful steps the County has taken towards addressing hate crimes across diverse communities, while raising an alarm regarding rising cases of discrimination and targeted violence in recent years. 

To ensure the County confronts this crisis with a holistic, proactive, and equitable strategy, the Board has directed the Chief Executive Office, through the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative, to lead coordination and partnership across various County departments and entities to meet several directives, including: 

  • Compiling a landscape assessment of existing County strategies and initiatives to prevent and combat identity-based hate; 
  • Providing recommendations to support prevention, mitigation, Countywide coordination, and reporting of hate-related incidents and crimes by victims; 
  • Researching promising practices from other jurisdictions in this field; and 
  • Identifying opportunities to budget for and fund an expanded, holistic, anti-hate strategy for the County. 

To meet this call to action, ARDI is partnering and consulting with the County’s Human Relations Commission, Department of Public Health Office of Violence Prevention, CEO Office of Emergency Management, Department of Mental Health, Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, County Counsel, and other relevant County entities and community stakeholders.

LA vs HATE – LA County Campaign. Photo credit: Los Angeles County

This crosscutting collaboration builds upon decades of County initiatives across numerous communities, including several Board-directed and ARDI-led efforts described in the sections below.

Lunar New Year Celebration at Potrero Heights Community and Senior Center. Photo credit: Mayra Beltran Vasquez/Los Angeles County

Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

On April 6, 2021, the Board adopted a motion responding to a national and local increase in targeted violence against Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. The motion elevated the need to increase the County’s ongoing commitment to fighting racism in all its dimensions and promote unity and solidarity within and among communities to stop and further prevent identity-based violence.

Per the motion, ARDI collaborated with the County’s Human Relations Commission, Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention, Department of Arts and Culture, and other community partners to take action, including:

  • Providing recommendations on how the County can address the rise and continuation of hate and violence directed towards AANHPI communities; and
  • Launching the LA County Equity and Diversity Fund (Equity Fund), within an initial investment of $1 million. The Fund will enable partnerships with leading research institutions and community-based organizations to understand, address, and end hate, bias, discrimination, and xenophobia against communities of color, including AANHPI communities, as well as sponsor artistic and cultural opportunities to celebrate the contribution of communities of color, including AANHPI communities.

ARDI submitted a report and recommendations for a spending plan for the Equity Fund created in consultation with internal departments and principally informed though various stakeholder outreach efforts. The plan was adopted by the Board on March 7, 2023, and divides the funding into priority areas, including:

  • Community Safety and Violence Prevention
  • Healing Centered Practices
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Education
  • Arts-based Cultural Performance and Community Events
  • Visibility, Diverse Cultural Heritage, and Narrative Change
  • Civic Engagement and Policy

Funding will be released to support programs in several of these areas. Check back soon for more information or sign up here to receive notifications.

Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Incidents

On November 7, 2023, the Board adopted a motion entitled, Response to Increase in Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Incidents Across Los Angeles, which calls attention to a disturbing rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate throughout the state and nation, including book bans, acts of violence, online harassment, protests, threats, and other aggressive and organized actions.

In LA County, these tactics manifested in a very real, very dangerous way at a Drag Storytime event scheduled with the San Fernando Branch of the Los Angeles County Library as part of the County’s celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month. Despite the presence of local law enforcement, numerous anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-drag protestors blocked and pounded on doors and verbally harassed County staff and attendees, leading to an impromptu cancellation of the event due to safety concerns1.

In adopting this motion, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to fostering an LA County where all residents, including transgender, queer, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities, can live safely and free from intimidation or violence.

The motion directed the Chief Executive Officer, through ARDI, to collaborate with the Sheriff’s Department, Public Library, and Human Relations Commission and consult with various partners, including Equality California, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, the TransLatin@ Coalition, ONE Institute, San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center, LA vs. Hate, Somos Familia Valle, GALAS LGBTQ+ Armenian Society, the Williams Institute, the Anti-Defamation League, the City of Los Angeles, the City of West Hollywood, and the City of Fernando, to report on the following: 

  • Five years’ worth of statistics and trends regarding reported anti-LGBTQ+ incidents and crimes in LA County; 
  • Existing County efforts and recommendations to respond to anti-LGBTQ+ incidents and ensure the safety of community members; and
  • Recommendations regarding community sensitive site safety, including best practices for securing sensitive sites in the face of violence or threats of violence.

Since the adoption of the motion, ARDI has engaged in activities to address the Board’s directive such as stakeholder collaboration and consultation, quantitative and qualitative analysis of incidents and crimes, and development of the community site safety blueprint. ARDI continues to convene stakeholders to finalize the development of recommendations for the County to address anti-LGBTQ+ hate and violence. For more information, the full report can be viewed here.

1 Protesters blockade San Fernando Library, shut down drag queen story event

Progress Pride flag at LA County Lifeguard at Will Roger State Beach. Photo credit: Mayra Beltran Vasquez/Los Angeles County

“The Common Thread” mural, designed by Cloe Hakakian. Photo credit: Jade Blairs

Jewish Community Safety

On January 23, 2024, the Board adopted a motion for Increasing Jewish Community Safety throughout Los Angeles County, underscoring an ongoing rise in anti-Jewish assaults, harassment, and vandalism across the U.S., including several violent and fatal incidents in LA County in recent years.

Through the motion, the Board reaffirmed a belief that nobody should be forced to endure crimes and incidents of hate or violence at community institutions, including places of worship, schools, or other community-centered locations.

The motion includes a directive for ARDI to provide training for local law enforcement agencies regarding antisemitism prevention and response, as well as the prevention of identity-based hate via resources and tactics for increased safety and collaborating with Jewish community-based organizations as necessary. In addition, ARDI was directed to collaborate with the HRC to compile a list of Countywide public safety, nonprofit, and mental health resources for the Jewish community.

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has been collaborating with County partners and external subject matter experts to assess and update protocols and procedures to enhance a unified response to incidents of mass violence in the County. The below initiatives were established to accomplish the goal and laid out in more detail in a report submitted to the Board.

  • Community Safety and Planning
  • Watch Center Mass Violence Response
  • Alert and Warning
  • Mass Violence Work Group
  • Mass Violence Prevention Symposium

Additionally, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) submitted a report with a plan to develop an antisemitism and mass violence attack preparedness and training exercise, including implementation timelines.

Anti-Black Hate Prevention and Responses

On February 6, 2024, the Board once again adopted a motion, Proclaiming African American History Month in the County of Los Angeles, celebrating the achievements, contributions, life, and legacy of African Americans throughout LA County.

Within the official proclamation, the Board also acknowledged the continued struggle for equity, access, investment, and redress for systemic harm, even as African Americans continue to experience racial discrimination and hate. According to the County’s Human Relations Commission (HRC), reported anti-Black hate crimes rose a staggering 34% between 2021 to 2022. Although Black and African American residents only comprise approximately 9% of the County population, they constituted 53% of racial hate crime victims in 2022. 

Considering these statistics, the Board directed ARDI and the Department of Human Resources to collaborate with the CEO, Sheriff’s Department, HRC, and relevant community-based organizations to create and produce training videos for LA County personnel and for local law enforcement agencies to educate and promote culturally sensitive anti-Black hate prevention methods and responses, including resources and tactics for increased safety for victims and bystanders.

Social service pre-apprenticeship training program, Career for Cause (C4C), hosted by the LA County Department of Economic Opportunity. Photo credit: Mayra Beltran Vasquez/Los Angeles County

LA County Community Safety Resource Guide

Compiled by the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative, this guide serves as a resource for communities to help address identity-based hate and violence. The County of Los Angeles invests in a wide spectrum of programs, services, and initiatives to ensure the safety and well-being of all its residents. In this guide, we share both County of Los Angeles and external resources which may be especially relevant to individuals and communities who have experienced or been impacted by identity-based hate and violence. To view and download the guide, click the button below.

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