LA County Supervisor Chair Holly Mitchell encouraged people to have a discussion on hate around the dinner table and with your neighbors on your block. (Photo credit: David Franco)

Robin Toma, the executive director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, officially made the announcement. Nov. 13-19 is officially LA vs. Hate — United Against Hate Week. Joining Toma for the announcement were those working in various sectors in the county who reflect some of LA’s diversity.

The LA County Commission on Human Relations will be releasing its hate crime report next month and encouraged residents to utilize the 2-1-1 phone number to report hate incidents and hate crimes. The county has already received over 1,000 calls. A LA vs. Hate website has been set up to offer a tool kit of information that can help people to learn skills to stand against hate and find resources for those who have encountered hate.

Holly Mitchell, chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Esther Lim, justice deputy, Office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, George Gascon and honorary co-chairs for United Against Hate Week Dr. Debra Duardo, superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education, and Maria S. Salinas, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, with others, all stood on the steps of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.

Mitchell urged Angelenos to “carve out some time this week in your own unique way to think through our own emplicit bias because we all have it and have personal conversations.”

(L-R) Dean Chalak Richards, Dean of Student Life, Diversity & Belonging, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce,  Shawn Landres, Immediate Past President, Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission, Robin Toma, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, lead agency for LA vs Hate Holly  Mitchell, Chair, LA County Board of Supervisors, George Gascon, LA County District Attorney Debra Duardo, Superintendent, LA County Office of Education, Esther Lim, Justice Deputy Office of LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Martin Estrada, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hildy Sterns, South Bay Social Justice Work Group Founder (Photo credit: David Franco LA County Board of Supervisors)

Mitchell said we often picture the furthest end of spectrum when we think about racism. “We visualize the attack on Paul Polosi or the anti semetic banner placed over the freeway or the video at Torrance High, that’s the far end of the spectrum,” but she pointed out that there may be words spoken every day in conversation and oftentimes people may let it go.

Mitchell said she recently went through “bystander training” offered by the human relations commission. extreme end of the spectrum and we visualize the racist video that’w the end of the specctrum and we all have an opportunity to address it.

“It occurred to me as we were being you were confronted with this situation and most of us when confronted might clutch our pearls instead of what we should do at the moment to support the victim and confront the oppressor.” Mitchell recommended the people do what is sometimes the hardest, “have a conversation at the dinner table or with your neighbor.”

Dr. Deborah Duardo. Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education said she views county of 10 million residents from so many different cultures speaking different languages with different traditions, religious beliefs as our real strength.

“That’s what we’re trying to teach in our schools, not just about tolerance, but about celebrating and being excited to learn about people from different cultures in different places. I’m really proud that in California, we are the first state in the nation to make ethnic studies a requirement for graduation,” said Durado. “Starting in the 2025 school year, those students will be required to learn not only about their own culture, but about the culture and the contributions that everyone has made to this country.

Durado said that the children and teachers and anybody who steps foot on a school campus understands that racism or hate he will not be tolerated and this campaign helps people to identify it, and learns how to report it.

“We’re getting the posters out, we’re talking to our students. And the thing that we all have to remember is it starts very early on right because hate is a learned behavior. So what some of the work that we have to do in our schools very early on is unteach what some of our children have been taught,” said Durado. “I want to remind parents that are out there listening to remember that your children are always watching and listening to everything that you say. So this is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children not to hate to love to celebrate the diversity that we have here.”

Dr. Shawn Landres, Immediate Past President, Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission & UAHW Co-Chairof LA vs. Hate week said he had three reasons for participating.

“I’m here because my mother escaped the Holocaust and survived World War II and came to this country thanks to people who reached out across lines of racial, religious, ethnic, and other differences.

“All of us are united against hate, which cannot end on November 19. We have to stay united every single day of the year and why ?, because hate is like rust, it corrodes when we leave it, it corrodes and corrodes, and ultimately, it corrodes our democracy, it corrodes our democratic institutions, it corrodes the lives that we are trying to build,” said Landres. “So, I’m here because it’s personal. For myself, it’s for my family. It’s for my community. My daughter’s my neighborhood, my country, my state, my county.”

L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon made reference to the three city council members racist conversation that was recorded and leaked that forced the resignation of Council President Nury Martinez and continues to call for the resignation of Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo.

“Recently we heard elected officials speaking in very hateful manner…concerning and during that conversation, my name came up. And there was a statement made that said that I quote unquote,’ stand with the ‘Blacks’. And it was interesting, because I was reading that and I was disappointed and in shock. But then I said, you know, it is very true. I stand with the black community,” Gascon reflected.. 

“But I also stand with the Latino community, the API community LGBT community, the Jewish community and any other community that is vulnerable, and it needs to make sure that we stand with them.” “I started to get calls from people around the community, even people that normally would not have reached out to me to say that not only they stood with the black community, but they also stood with every other community. And that to me was not only an affirmation, but that also was a clear understanding for me that while we have some people that will still peddle in the politics of scarcity in the politics of division. The majority of the people in our community are heading in a different direction. Yes, and for that, I’m very grateful. And I’m very hopeful.”  

When necessary, we will enforce the law to ensure that those that engage in criminal hateful conduct would be held accountable,” Gascon continued. He’s also participating in a series of dialogues with communities throughout the county and had the first meeting recently in Koreatown with the API Asian Pacific Islander community “to educate and prevent hate”.

“I have to tell you that in the last few weeks, I came to realize that there are so many people in our community that are willing to stand up there are people of every color, every religion, every persuasion, so I feel very grateful,” said Gascon.

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Funding provided by the State of California