Community Organizes Against Hate Crimes

Submitted by Angie Aramayo 

On August 23, 2012, 30 people attended the adult hate crime workshop at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul. It was put together by the Echo Park community including Assemblymember Gil Cedillo, State Senator Kevin De León, Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Central City Action Committee, SEIU 721, El Centro Del Pueblo, SIPA, City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, County of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, EPIA and UTLA as they declared our neighborhood “Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes.”

Joumana Silyan-Saba from the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission and Detective Martin Pinedo from the LAPD Hate Crimes defined what a hate crime/ incident was, as well as going into detail on how these crimes are reported. From there, the audience broke into groups to discuss if anyone had experienced a hate crime, figuring out ways for the community to respond to a hate crime/incident as well as how to make neighborhoods free from hate crimes. At the end of the 2 hour workshop, the group as a whole chose the top three actions they would take on in priority order to make the neighborhood a hate free zone. They are, implementing an anti-bullying week to educate the teachers and administrators about bullying within their ranks, using different methods to prevent hate crimes, and providing cultural programming to have an acceptance for all.

A similar meeting was held for youths on August 30 at El Centro del Pueblo with about 20 middle school and high school students in attendance. The discussion was led by Riku Matsuda from the LA County Commission on Human Relations. He worked with the youth to define hate crime, hate incident and hate violence. Various scenarios were presented in which the group discussed alternative, non-violent solution to the conflict. At the end, they were also given the opportunity to vote for top three actions youths could undertake to make neighborhoods a hate free zone.

A planning committee is meeting regularly to follow up on their priorities. Please contact the office of Assemblymember Gilbert Cedillo for more information at 323-225-4545.