Increase in hate crimes results in resolution to eradicate hate through community-based program
By LA RISSA VASQUEZ — email@example.com
On Nov. 30, Yolo County, the city of Davis and UC Davis signed a collaborative resolution to build a campaign called “Hate-Free Together.” The campaign aims to combat discrimination in the community by educating businesses, public agencies and individuals about how they can be agents of compassion.
Mayor Lucas Frerichs talked about the discussions he had with Chancellor Gary May and Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor leading up to the resolution. Mayor Frerichs said discussions became more serious after antisemitic banners were hung across the Blue Ridge Road Bikeway and Highway 113 overpass on Aug. 28.
“We were all very troubled by some of these incidents,” Frerichs said. “The banners [are] one thing. Both on campus and in the community, there have been a number of instances of swastikas popping up [as] graffiti in different locations both on campus and [at] apartment complexes and around the community. I think those have definitely been a real concern.”
According to the California Department of Justice’s annual report on hate crimes, Yolo County recorded 21 hate crime events in 2021. Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza said that he believes a united resolution such as Hate-Free Together sends a powerful message.
“People who are victims of hate, whether it be graffiti or a physical attack or [an] attack on property, […] feel very unsafe and insecure and also very alone,” Provenza said. “And we found that by putting the county and the city and the university behind the resolution, it’s telling [people], ‘No you’re not alone; we’re with you, we support you and we’re going to take whatever steps we need to help you.’ So the resolution in and of itself is important.”
Workshops will be held in the early months of 2023 to gauge the community’s needs. Some of the resolution’s goals will be to create zero-tolerance policies, offer cultural competency training and provide resources on how to report when incidents of hate occur in the workplace or at schools. Supervisor Provenza said that the campaign revolves around education, prevention and understanding the consequences of hate.
“When an incident does occur, we need to have a plan [for] getting together as a community, not just government but [as] community leaders [or] religious leaders, and it should be something that kind of happens automatically,” Provenza said. “On the civil side, there’s some pretty strict sanctions for this type of behavior. A person can sue for punitive damages, meaning that even if you can’t show that you lost money or lost property, you can still recover damages. Most importantly, it tells a person committing the act that ‘Yeah, there is a consequence,’ and I’d like to see volunteer attorneys be ready to go into action.”
Davis City Councilmember Gloria Partida said that the early stages of the initiative allow for full community input and exploration of their ideas and needs.
“As a community, you do need places where you can process hate incidents or other issues that are happening and talk about ways that you can be proactive [and] ways that you can do things so that we are building communities where everyone feels safe [in] their identities,” Partida said. “And right now, it’s so new and so wide open that it’s kind of the exciting part about it; it can be anything that we think will work, and [we can] also explore.”
An official campaign website for Hate-Free Together and more information will become available in the coming months. Members of the community are encouraged to stay connected and provide input for the campaign.
Written By La Rissa Vasquez — firstname.lastname@example.org