What Happened at the United Against Hate Week (UAHW) Kickoff in Berkeley

By Freelance Writer, Stacey Spencer

As a deeply moving manifestation of solidarity and fortitude, on November 13, 2023, Berkeley, California, together with Not In Our Town, LA versus Hate, and the State of California Civil Rights Department (CRD) hosted the launch event for the sixth annual UAHW. Held at the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, this event brought together government officials and community leaders along with advocacy groups in an effort to allow people to understand what discrimination is and why cross-cultural tolerance should be promoted among California residents so they will take action to stop a sharp increase of hate crimes and incidents around their communities.

A YouTube video records the ceremony, highlighting how an entire community comes together to respond to a grave concern. As reported by journalist Antonio Ray Harvey in his post regarding the event, the occasion was aimed at promoting collective actions, reflecting on history, and building stronger communities for all.

The video begins with a colorful scene at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, where participants convene to celebrate the start of UAHW. Being held against the backdrop of the iconic park, with a diverse group of people attending it, sets an impressive tone. The brief shots of banners and signs with anti-hate messages show that the community is determined to fight against discrimination.

Becky Monroe, Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs at CRD, explains the importance of this week as an opportunity to re-engage in working together and creating stronger communities. The involvement of various viewpoints and collaborations strengthens the notion that hate needs to be combated through collective and multi-faceted means.

One of the notable attendees during the event is Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, who welcomes stakeholders and highlights that Berkeley contributed to the founding of UAHW. His words show both pride in the contributions of the city and an understanding of persistent issues. On hate crimes in California, Phil Ting, who is the Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, talks about incidences where people were assaulted due to their race and implores victims to contact resources that are available, like CRD’s hate crime reporting hotline. The video is successful in capturing how government officials are committed to dealing with hate through awareness and support mechanisms.

Statistics mentioned during the event and emphasized in the video show that tackling hate crimes in California is an issue that requires urgent attention. Reported hate crimes have spiked to the highest levels since 2001, with black communities being most affected. In their capacity as the NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference, President Rick L. Callender stated that they are proud to be part of UAHW and reminded its members that the organization is bent on eliminating hate through action within communities.

The video highlights the variety of events held all over California during UAHW, from poetry slams to rallies. The publication by the CRD of new hate crime statistics and the release of about 513 reports to California vs. Hate underscores that continued education and reporting are necessary. This commitment to anti-hate initiatives like CA vs. Hate is shown as critical in terms of the state’s approach to addressing hate at the grassroots.

The background of UAHW, stemming from the reaction to White Supremacist rallies conducted in 2017, is emphasized as community organizers started the event in the Bay Area. It is a tribute to the strength of communities and how necessary it is to fight back against hate so that people can live without fear. Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission President Ilan Davidson commends the coalition for orchestrating a comprehensive program aimed at fostering peace and safety through partnerships with communities, organizations, and activism.

The video advises all residents of the state to make use of existing resources, like California vs. Hate, in order to initiate reforms at the neighborhood level. Mary Wheat, CRD Acting Director’s commitment to work against bias and discrimination is shown as an impressive call for action at the time of UAHW.

The video also focuses on the fact that since UAHW’s inception, it has grown to involve more than 200 communities through faith-based groups, civil rights activists, and other organizations. The willingness to endorse legislative activities like AB 449 (Ting) shows a more comprehensive tactic aimed at making a difference in hate crime statistics that, unfortunately, have lasted too long.

From the vantage point of this YouTube video, the United Against Hate Week Kickoff in Berkeley is a poignant reminder that a combination of people can unite against hate regardless of its form. From the wide range of partnerships and participation of government to community involvement and results achieved through anti-hate campaigns, the event shows a collective effort against the growing trend of hate crimes. With the challenges that California is facing with discrimination and bias, the commitment from individuals, communities, and organizations in the video demonstrates an important step towards a safer, more inclusive future for everyone.

If you are of African descent (Black / African American) living in California, and you have survived a hate crime or incident, or you are a family member of someone who lost their life to a hate crime, and would like to share your story or testimony with THE HUB, e-mail contact@sacculturalhub.com or call 916-234-3589. With your help, THE HUB can attempt to be apart of solutions that heal the community while forging ahead to stop the hate. CLICK HERE to take the brief Heal The World! Stop The Hate Awareness survey. Thank you!

The Stop The Hate campaign is made possible with funding from the California State Library (CSL) in partnership with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA). The views expressed on this website and other materials produced by Sac Cultural Hub Media Foundation do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the CSL, CAPIAA or the California government. Learn more about the Stop The Hate campaign at: https://capiaa.ca.gov/stop-the-hate/


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