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    Stop the Spread of D.C.’s Hate and Intolerance

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting

    A painful truth that we have learned from the last election is that those with hate in their hearts are more common than we thought. Even more tragically, the hateful rhetoric coming from our nation’s capital has given permission to those people to act on their prejudices.

    The 2016 Hate Crime in California report by the state Attorney General found that, from 2015 to 2016, hate crime events increased by 11.2 percent. The most common types of hate crimes are those committed with a racial, ethnic, or nationality bias, followed by sexual orientation bias, and religious bias.

    California had 207 hate crimes perpetrated due to the victim’s sexual orientation and 27 hate crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in 2016. In total, 22.2 percent of all hate crimes reported in the same year was with a bias against lesbian and gay people. This alarming surge in hate crimes will likely continue to grow due to the hateful discourse and shortsighted policies that the federal government is pursuing.

    California is a state of inclusion and diversity and, in order to preserve those values and to help prevent hate crimes, I introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1985, which is sponsored by Equality California and The Arc of California, to update the hate crime policies within local police departments.

    Many police departments across the state have hate crime policies, but many of them are outdated and should be updated to include the model policy framework from the state Commission on Peace Officer Training (POST), which is more expansive and incorporates first responder and reporting responsibilities, training resources, and planning and prevention methods.

    While California has some of the nation’s strongest hate crime laws, hate crimes can be difficult to prove. A perpetrator doesn’t always shout racist or prejudiced words while committing the crime. AB 1985 would require hate crime policies to include information on bias motivations, so police officers can understand what may be a bias motivator, which can help them to determine whether or not an incident is a hate crime.

    We cannot legislate a person’s opinions, no matter how wrong or absurd they may be. But we can do our best to provide all of the resources necessary to help police officers prevent hate crimes and to protect their communities by responding to them in the best way possible. It’s not just up to law enforcement to protect those around us; as members of the community, we each have the responsibility to provide assistance wherever we can. If you see a hate crime happening, contact our local law enforcement right away so that officers can respond.

    As a father of two, I believe strongly that we have a duty to speak out against injustice and to show younger generations the virtues of acceptance, tolerance, and equal rights. When communities fight back against hate crimes, we become stronger together and united in battling intolerance and hate.

    Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and parts of South San Francisco.