LOS ANGELES — A panel of leaders from different Los Angeles cultural sectors took to the steps of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration on Monday, Nov. 14, to kick off LA vs. Hate – United Against Hate Week.
Behind them, supporters stood with signs showing the hands of two people of different races joined together under the words “TOGETHER” and “JUNTOS”. In front of the sign, a small crowd gathered in anticipation.
The rally was led by Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, the agency responsible for LA vs. Hate. Also in attendance were Holly Mitchell, Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District 2, Esther Lim, Assistant Attorney, Office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District 1, George Gascon, Attorney of LA County.
Also in attendance were Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and UAHW Honorary Co-Chair, Debra Duardo, Superintendent, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Honorary Co-Chair of UAHW, Martin Estrada, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, Shawn Landres, Past Chairman, Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission and UAHW Co-Chair, Dean Chalak Richards, Dean of Student Life, Diversity and Membership, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and UAHW Co-Chair and Hildy Sterns, Founder of the South Bay Social Justice Task Force.
Each in turn expressed their dedication to the Stop the Hate initiative and detailed the steps they would take to achieve the initiative’s mission.
“Release of the Hate Crimes Commission’s annual report will confirm what we have been through,” Mitchell said, addressing the crowd, “which is a historic increase in hate crimes in one of the counties most diverse in the country. A county with the largest Native American population of any county in the country, a county with the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia, a county with the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, a county in which two hundred and twenty-four identified languages are spoken on a daily basis. We can and must, my dear Angelinos, be proactive. Unite Against Hate Week offers every resident the opportunity to get involved, show their strength and to take a stand against hate.
During a panel discussion, the focus was on stopping hate in the workplace and in schools.
“The chamber is committed to helping companies stay abreast of changing business practices in order to make strategic, employee-centric investments that drive business growth and advance employment opportunities,” said said Salinas of the House.
Dean Richards proudly listed competing schools, such as Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of Law, USC School of Law, and Loyola, stating that these institutions came together for the common purpose of fighting hate. She said through this initiative, students and their families learn to recognize hate and use resources such as the law to help them stop hate crimes in their tracks.
Sterns spoke about the Anti-Hate Coalition’s community event last Sunday with outreach and community gathering activities. On Tuesday, Stearns invited everyone to watch a free screening of the new documentary, “Race to be Human,” which will be followed by a panel discussion.
Finally, on Friday, she added that she encouraged everyone to take part in a moment of silence at 9:31 a.m. to reflect on how Angelenos can support others in the community. Lawn and window signs will also be distributed throughout Manhattan Beach with the slogan “Manhattan Beach Stands United Against Hate.”
Estrada announced the launch of the US Department of Justice’s “Unite Against Hate” initiative. The initiative will include local forums to connect community groups with federal, state and local partners. The goal is to increase awareness of reporting hate crimes and incidents, and to build and strengthen alliances between law enforcement, government actors and the community.
Last September, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced Sept. 15 at the White House United We Stand summit that over the next year, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) will host a new initiative nation to combat unlawful acts of hatred. . The United Against Hate program organizes local forums that connect community groups with federal, state and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate.
“The Department of Justice remains committed to enforcing federal hate crime laws,” Attorney General Garland said. “That’s why the Department of Justice has launched its new Unite Against Hate program. This initiative brings together community groups, community leaders and law enforcement at all levels to build trust and strengthen coordination to combat unlawful acts of hate.
On Wednesday, Estrada’s office will partner with the LA County District Attorney’s Office in an LGBTQ+ part of the United Against Hate initiative.
The rally ended with the unveiling of a “Wishing Tree” art intervention inspired by county residents. All participants were invited to add a wish to the artwork.