October 2022 was truly a scary month. Yeah there are all those creepy decorations, people dressed in spooky costumes and terrifying movies. But that's not what had me so fearful. On October 9th, we learned of a hate filled conversation between four of the most powerful people in Los Angeles, including three sitting councilmembers. No one was seemingly spared during the awful exchange, but the most horrifying remarks came from Nury Martinez who epitomized anti-blackness, when she called Mike Bonin's black son a monkey!!!
As the month continued, we watched a series of public figures spew anti-semitic words into the public sphere. Although it is not surprising behavior from him, I was truly disturbed by the antics of Kanye West who unfortunately has a lot of influence. It’s painful to watch a black man engage in hate given they are so often the victims of it. And this October, we got not only one, but two – Basketball player Kyrie Irving was the other – highly visible black men providing bad examples.
According to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission (HRC), hate crimes increased by 20% in our County last year, driven largely by a surge in racially motivated attacks. To underscore the point above, Black people were disproportionately targeted in these hate crimes, making up 42% of victims even though they are only 9% of county residents. Other racial groups saw large increases in attacks as well.
In response to these disturbing numbers, under the leadership of the amazing Robin Toma, HRC has developed a broad sweeping and hopeful initiative. LA vs Hate is a community-centered program designed to support all residents of Los Angeles County in league with local partners. The campaign specifically is designed to address the normalization of hate, document acts of hate, and support individuals/communities as they heal from the trauma of hate. I also want to give a shout out to the city of LA’s Department of Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (run by my good friend Capri Maddox) for its own campaign in this vein, LA is for Everyone.
Art plays a central role in communications and programming as part of both campaigns with artists providing engaging ways for people from across the County to show their support and get involved. LA vs Hate artwork has been developed to spread the message - everything from murals to posters to graphics to use in the digital realm. These beautiful and inspiring images are free to include in messages across platforms. As part of LA Commons’ current project at Ted Watkins park, we are supporting artist Ethel Zafranco and a team of local youth to create a new set of posters.
Also, this coming Saturday from noon to 4, you will find us at Grand Park, getting people involved in LA vs. Hate, as part of We ARe Here: A Celebration of Legacy. We are excited to affirm the contributions of marginalized communities with screen printing that pays homage to Biddy Mason, a legendary Black woman in LA history.
We are a proud partner in this effort, especially now. Join us and sign the Pledge to Stand Against Hate.
CEO, LA Commons