California Attorney General and U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris and schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Thursday released statements about hate crimes and safety.
People across the country are expressing concerns about violence against LGBTs, immigrants, people of color, and others since Republican Donald Trump won the presidency this week. Several attacks have been reported, including in the Bay Area, where a San Jose State University student reported that someone grabbed her by her hijab and pulled her backward Wednesday.
Harris issued a bulletin to California’s law enforcement agencies outlining the state’s hate crime laws.
“Local California law enforcement agencies have reported an uptick in threats of hate crimes and other violent extremism,” Harris’ office said. “As a result, the bulletin encourages state and local law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant and respond appropriately to suspected or actual hate crime activity.”
The bulletin includes statistics from the state’s 2015 hate crimes report showing hate crime events increased from 758 in 2014 to 837 in 2015. Most of the increase is attributable to incidents involving religious bias.
“We must protect all Californians from acts of hate and bigotry and when an individual is victimized because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, we must act swiftly to ensure justice and accountability,” Harris stated. “Hate crimes are serious crimes that may result in imprisonment or jail time for offenders.”
Torlakson, the schools chief, issued a statement to reassure public school students that they’re safe. In San Francisco Thursday, about 1,000 schoolchildren marched to protest Trump.
“I know that the outcome of the recent presidential election has caused deep concern among many students and their families,” Torlakson said. “The nation maintains a strong tradition for the peaceful transition of power. And I want to let all of California’s 6.2 million public school students know that keeping them safe from discrimination and bullying at our great state’s 11,000 public schools is a top priority. … California already has, and will always maintain, strong legal and state Constitutional protections against any and all kinds of discrimination, regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”