CA Attorney General Rob Bonta launches Racial Justice Bureau to address hate crimes

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, the first Fil-Am in the role, previously served as a state assemblymember. | File photo courtesy of CA API Legislative Caucus

CALIFORNIA Attorney General Rob Bonta on Tuesday, May 11 launched the Racial Justice Bureau within the state’s Department of Justice to address the increasing hate crimes in the state, particularly against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

“Throughout California’s history, too many of us have felt the sting of hate and discrimination,” Bonta said. “The fact is: No part of California is immune to hate. Too many Asian, Latino, Black, Native American, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh Californians all across the state are hurting. It’s going to take all of us working together to take on bias and hate and their toxic effects on our society.”

The Racial Justice Bureau and virtual event will be part of the Golden State’s efforts to tackle bias and hate and responding to such crimes across jurisdictions.

“As part of that, I’m launching a Racial Justice Bureau within the California Department of Justice and working to help bring together many of our major local elected leaders in common cause against hate. We must recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to better serve the needs of all Californians. All of our communities deserve to be seen, to be valued, and to be protected,” Bonta added.

The new bureau will bring six new attorneys and a supervising deputy attorney general to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section.

They will also be tasked with assisting new and ongoing efforts on:

• Hate crimes and organizations — tackling white supremacy and hate organizations and stepping up outreach with community organizations and law enforcement on hate crime prevention, information sharing, and reporting;

• Implicit and explicit bias in policing — launching and supporting investigations and recognizing the urgent need to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve;

• Law enforcement best practices — issuing guidance to local law enforcement, prosecutors, and other public entities regarding shared challenges in providing for public safety;

• Campus climate issues, including conducting and supporting investigations into overly punitive, discriminatory policies where they arise and working to find innovative ways to strengthen diverse, equitable, and inclusive school environments; and

• Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, assisting with the implementation of the new task force as authorized under Assembly Bill 3121.

Bonta on Tuesday also announced plans for a virtual convening with the state’s big city mayors set for later this May to identify new solutions for tackling hatred.
Members of the coalition include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Riverside, Santa Ana, and Stockton, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

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