By Alexander Ramirez
SACRAMENTO, CA – Amid the examples of hate attacks that have been increasingly common in recent years, along with activist groups that aim to combat these hate crimes, California lawmakers have also begun to take a stand on a legislative level.
In response to the hate attacks on the Asian Pacific Islander community, 18th District representative Rob Bonta has introduced AB 886.
On his Facebook page, Bonta ran a livestream of California legislators discussing how hate attacks affect different groups of people and what they plan to do in the fight against these hate crimes.
When talking about his feelings toward these groups being targeted and the anger it causes, Bonta said, “But I also have hope. Hope because we are not standing by. We are not being silent. Rather than accept the unacceptable, we are fighting back. We are taking action. We are proposing solutions. And hope because we are doing this together.”
While Bonta explicitly mentioned during his time on the microphone the Asian Pacific Islander community that was being targeted, there was other representation from the Chair of the Jewish Caucus, Jessie Gabriel, the Chair of the CA LGBTQ Caucus, Evan Low, and other prominent assemblymen and women.
AB 886 was designed to give people who have been previously targeted by hate acts to receive proper health services for recovery, as well as access to restorative justice programs.
This would also make it so that victim compensation funds are more accessible to victims of these hate acts. Bonta said that we should strive to be more proactive rather than reactive when it comes to these hate attacks.
“AB 886 would assure that consultation with the victim becomes a primary focus along with community healing. AB 886 would address prevention by providing additional restorative justice tools to proactively increase the likelihood that an individual who caused the harm would not do additional harm,” he said.
Across many of the speeches made by the assemblymen and women on this livestream, a common detail that many speeches shared was former-president Donald Trump’s rhetoric in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Namely, many cited the effect that terms like “The Kung-Fu Virus” and “The China Virus” have had on the API community. District 17 representative David Chiu said that, in Chinatown, business dropped 50 percent before a COVID case was announced.
Bonta closed the assembly with, “I appreciate all of my colleagues coming together; their words and actions of support. We are again standing together and we’re taking action and coming forward with solutions…”
Alexander Ramirez is a third-year Political Science major at the University of California, Davis. He hopes to hone his writing skills in preparation for the inevitable time of graduation.
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