“Stop The Hate Showcase” Set for SBVC Thurs., Nov. 30
by Barbara Smith
California is engaged in an unprecedented effort to combat hate crimes where we saw a 20% increase in such crimes in 2022. Disturbing is last year’s steep increases in such crimes against transgender people (up 55%), Muslims (up 39%) and Black people (up 27 %). According to a soon-to be-released study by CSU San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, that growth has outpaced similar hate growth trends in 42 major cities. Shockingly, 2022 data show that in California, Blacks are most often affected. Black people represented 6% of California’s population but about 30% of its reported hate crime victims in 2022, according to the Attorney General’s office.
In response to concerns, last year, California, in conjunction with the Office of the Governor, created a commission to study the state of hate and, among a number of measures, set up a hotline for people to report incidents to its Civil Rights Department. The state also put together a team of mediators to address conflicts in communities.
Hate crimes are notoriously difficult to track. Survivors often don’t report them, and local law enforcement agencies vary in how well they monitor them and how much they report to state and federal authorities.
“We are very concerned about an increase next year,” said Brian Levin, professor emeritus, CSU San Bernardino, and founder, Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. He cites, among other factors, the upcoming presidential election with all the divisiveness we see in politics and political rhetoric. Social media provides “a 24-7 swap meet of hate,” said the civil rights attorney and former New York police officer, who is a now a member of the State of California’s Commission on the State of Hate. “We’re having a significant increase in hate crimes, and hate crimes are getting more violent. But we’re also having more reporting, particularly in certain areas.”
The Inland Empire is taking an active role in increasing the conversation about hate crime and finding creative ways to release tension and bring people together. One such effort is the upcoming “Stop the Hate Showcase,” to be held on November 30 at San Bernardino Valley College. The free concert, the first in a series of events produced by the Precinct Reporter Group’s Stop the Hate project, features dance, poetry, film and spoken word, performed by a cadre of diverse artists with a common desire to use their art to bring about deeper understanding among cultures and heal hurt. It is an opportunity for community members to educate themselves on tools available to combat hate while also being immersed in the power and the beauty of the creative arts.
“Our goal is to showcase the artist’s role in educating the community about the trauma that hate is creating in our community,” said Project Director Kathryn Ervin. “Many feel ‘I don’t know what I can do,’ or maybe feel sidelined…The arts have a way of cutting to the chase,” she says, emphasizing that resources will be available at each performance to aid in healing and increasing understanding among cultures. The CAvsHate hotline is one such important tool. Hate incidents and crimes are often underreported, especially in communities of color. The hotline, which is aimed toward reducing the stigma often associated with reporting a hate crime, is accessible 24/7 at https://www.cavshate.org/ or by phone at 833-8NO-HATE. Among its many functions, it can connect people targeted for hate with culturally competent resources.
“We are a work in progress,” adds Showcase director Ervin, who is excited about the community outreach so essential to bringing about positive change. Besides the core of talented artists involved in the project, leaders from local and state governance, educational, and community members are involved and may be asked to offer remarks as part of a talk back after each performance.
For more information about the “Stop the Hate Showcase” visit www.precinctreporter.com or call 909-889-0597.
This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to https://www.cavshate.org/.