Since November 8 election night there have been over 1000 hate crimes. They have been targeted at Muslims, immigrants, LGBT people, Black people, Jews - a wide range of victims. Each crime has been accompanied by threats that said target needs to leave America, that the election of the new president means, by some perverted logic, that all laws protecting human rights are gone. Anarchy runs amok among the hateful.
California has seen the trend and is fighting back.
Yesterday, December 5, the new legislature was sworn in. Bills were created and passed across the desks of their respective houses. These bills focused on protecting all of our residents, assuring due process, and creating funds to offer legal support where needed. SB 6 (Hueso-SD) would create a fund offering legal assistance to people facing deportation. AB 3 (Bonta-Oakland) would create regional training centers for lawyers to familiarize them with immigration law and rights. Senator Ricardo Lara (Bell Gardens) has three bills - one resisting cooperation with any "religious registry"; one requiring state approval for any wall built at the CA border, and one barring private prisons from any role at all in dealing with detained immigrants.
In addition, last week Governor Brown asked Congressman Xavier Becerra, to step down from his House seat to become our new Attorney General now that the current AG, Kamala Harris, has been chosen to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer in DC. This choice of Becerra was a clear signal that this state is not going to let poorly thought-out, angry anti-immigrant or anti-anyone laws sweep over our state. It's evidence that we will uphold due process and humanity over and against the angry, ignorant "Know Nothing-ism" of the current anti-immigrant sentiments in America.
California obeys the laws but will not capitulate to emotional irrationality. Both our positive role as a haven for all people and lessons from the shameful past of events such as Manzanar have led us to assert what is best of us, not what is easy or convenient about the worst of our past.
As the months and years unfold, we will be in the mix for the afflicted and for other groups facing massive program cutbacks: seniors, those with disabilities, the poor, the homeless, the hungry. We will fight for health care for all, will stand firmly on the side of funding for food access, and we will target our own state budget to fill gaps federal cuts in programs may create.
We will ask you to join us in upholding these new bills and whatever comes that improves the lives of those in dire need. It is our challenge. We hope it will be yours as well.