Why is this program so critical?  

Since the start of the pandemic, racism, bigotry, and xenophobia, against the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community have escalated to unprecedented levels. Racist attacks have disproportionately affected the most vulnerable members of the community, including elders, young people, and AAPI women. While there has been a surge in anti-AAPI hate and violence since 2020, the discrimination and hate we see is not new. It has risen and fallen since AAPIs began coming to the United States in significant numbers in the 1800s.

Photo montage of Asian protesters

The hate we see against the AAPI community does not exist in a vacuum. There has been a rise in hate across the board, particularly against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, LGBTQIA+ community members, and the disabled. Folks throughout these communities are experiencing insecurity, both physically, and in their economic, health, and mental well-being.

This program is a start. It allows community-based organizations, who are already on the ground in vulnerable communities, to begin to educate their communities on what hate looks like, and what can be done about it.

Often, individuals in vulnerable communities don’t have the time or resources to a) recognize hate as hate, or b) don’t have an awareness of what can be done about it.

With this grant, community-based organizations can educate their communities on what hate looks like, provide them with services and resources in the aftermath of a hate incident, and conduct outreach and training to begin to tackle hate, by working with community members and other community-based organizations. The grant also offers opportunities to work across racial and ethnic groups to build awareness and solidarity, and to work with government partners, who often are not trusted by individual community members.

This program is a beginning that says everyone deserves the opportunity to live freely, safely, and to thrive.

It says hate in California is unacceptable.

Photographs by Corky Lee, a Chinese-American activist and photographer.