LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County supervisors called Tuesday on residents and county departments to speak out against hate crimes in the wake of the presidential election and asked the Sheriff’s Department to reach out to vulnerable communities.
Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended that the county take a stand, citing a series of verbal and physical assaults on residents.
“People in the county are being targeted because of their ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and we need to act now. This motion calls our communities to stand in unison and speak out against these acts of bullying, discrimination and hate violence,” Solis said.
“We are calling on our Sheriff’s Department, law enforcement agencies and County Office of Education to help us maintain a safe environment for everyone to work, learn and live in.”
The board’s vote in support was unanimous.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl spoke about her family’s history of fleeing the slaughter of Jews in Russia and persecution by Nazis, as well as her election as the first openly gay member of the California legislature.
Danger is multiplied “when a government gets involved in hatred and discrimination,” Kuehl said. “We need to fight back.”
Solis, the first Latina to serve in the U.S. cabinet, said grassroots, local efforts would be needed to combat the threat of discriminatory federal policies.
“It seems that standing up for our people’s constitutional rights is going to fall on the hands of state and local governments,” Solis said.
Earlier, during Tuesday’s board meeting, Solis previewed a separate motion to protect immigrants from any federal mass deportation.
Kuehl said pushing back might put federal funding at risk, but said she was ready to work with others to “throw a monkey wrench in this administration’s plan.”
According to Solis’ motion, a woman in Azusa was pushing a stroller along a sidewalk the day after the election when a gray-haired man in a red pickup truck pulled alongside, got out of the vehicle and said, “Get out of my country you … You Mexicans infest this country and are all freeloaders,” before throwing a cup of soda on the woman,
Before driving away, the man added, “You’re lucky. If I would have had my gun, it would have gone worse for you,” according to Solis, who said the report came from the Sheriff’s Department.
According to her motion, other reported incidents include “a Muslim-American high school student in the San Fernando Valley who had her head scarf yanked off before being called a `terrorist’ and being told, `You shouldn’t be wearing that, you towel-head. You’re not American. This isn’t what America stands for.’
Another incident involved an African-American man who found a note slipped under his door telling him to `go back to the plantation,’ and a physical education teacher at a South Los Angeles middle school who told his Latino students that their parents would be deported, leaving them to be placed in foster care,” Solis’ motion states.
Read the motion here.