SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching, and many Californians are preparing to kick off the summer with a holiday gathering or road trip.
Forty-five people were killed in crashes in California during last year’s Memorial Day weekend, nearly a 30 percent increase from the same period in 2021. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has a plan to help people arrive to their destinations safely, while reducing the number of deadly crashes on the state’s roads.
Beginning at 6:01 p.m. on Friday, May 26, the CHP will implement a statewide Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) in anticipation of the increased traffic that often accompanies a holiday weekend. The MEP will continue through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 29.
“The core mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the communities we serve,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “This holiday, motorists can expect to see additional CHP officers patrolling California’s roadways. All available uniformed members of this Department will be on patrol during this Memorial Day MEP. Our primary focus will be to enhance public safety, deter unsafe driving behavior, and when necessary, take appropriate enforcement action.”
In addition to assisting motorists and looking for traffic violations that often lead to serious injury or death, such as failure to wear a seat belt, speed, and distracted driving, CHP officers will be paying close attention to people who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol.
CHP officers made nearly 900 DUI arrests during the Memorial Day MEP in 2022. Keep yourself and others who are on the road safe by designating a sober driver or using a ride-share service.
If you see or suspect an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 immediately. Be prepared to provide the dispatcher a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, location, and direction of travel. Your phone call may save someone’s life.
The CHP’s Memorial Day MEP coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ongoing Click It or Ticket campaign, which continues through June 4. Seat belts save lives. Take two seconds to secure your safety and buckle up.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.
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If Temecula school board won’t do its job, state will says Newsom
“State will deliver the books — and we’ll send the district the bill and fine them for violating state law”
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, joined by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, and Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson today announced the State of California will begin the process of securing textbooks for students in the Temecula Valley Unified School District and enact legislation to fine school districts for failure to provide adequate instructional materials.
Elementary students in Temecula are slated to begin the school year on August 14, 2023, without enough textbooks for every student because of the school board’s decision to reject a widely used social studies curriculum.
“Cancel culture has gone too far in Temecula: radicalized zealots on the school board rejected a textbook used by hundreds of thousands of students and now children will begin the school year without the tools they need to learn,” said Newsom. “If the school board won’t do its job by its next board meeting to ensure kids start the school year with basic materials, the state will deliver the book into the hands of children and their parents — and we’ll send the district the bill and fine them for violating state law.”
“I am glad to join in this action with Governor Newsom today and thank him for his leadership in calling for Temecula’s school board to reverse course to prevent further harm to students,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “Inclusive education promotes the academic achievement and social development of our students. School Districts should not ban books in California, especially as it harms students of color and LGBTQ+ youth. AB1078 lays out the structure for today’s action and I am proud to have sponsored this bill to protect our students from the harmful effects of book banning, exclusion of inclusive textbooks and discrimination.”
“Censoring learning materials based on bigotry and ignorance prevents our students from getting a good education,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “Culture war extremism doesn’t belong in the debate of how to teach our children and school districts should always put students first. That’s why I’m pleased the Governor is stepping in to make sure the children in Temecula have textbooks to start the year, and I look forward to working with the Governor and the assembly on a clear legislative solution. We have a duty to help eliminate ignorance in all its forms.”
“The antics of the Temecula Valley Unified School District are intolerable and damaging to its students’ opportunities to grow, prosper, and succeed,” said Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas. “Book bans betray the most basic of California’s core values. I hope the members of the school board are able to reflect on their decisions and come to make better decisions for our children’s futures.”
“Book banning is not acceptable and will not stand in California,” said Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson. “It is my honor to have the Governor’s support of Assembly Bill 1078. This sends a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated. We stand united in our commitment to protect our students’ access to diverse educational materials and ensure an inclusive educational environment. We will not go backward. We will meet this historical moment.”
Temecula Valley Unified School District’s current curriculum is outdated and in violation of state law. Students in the district are forced to use a textbook published in 2006. In the process of acquiring updated textbooks for students in grades one through five on May 16, 2023, school board President Joseph Komrosky asserted false claims about the instructional materials. The board voted by a 3-2 majority to reject the adoption of the new social studies curriculum that was recommended by teachers representing every elementary school in the district and overwhelmingly supported by parents and community members. The textbook, one of four standard programs approved by the state, is routinely and widely used across hundreds of school districts in California.
Following the school board’s decision, Governor Newsom and state leaders wrote a letter to school districts statewide highlighting the legal obligations of districts and joined California Attorney General Rob Bonta in demanding information and answers from the board. The administration also began working with the Legislature and Superintendent Thurmond to advance AB 1078 (Jackson) to strengthen state law to ensure students in California have access to adequate instructional materials. Among other provisions, AB 1078 would:
- Require a two-thirds supermajority vote for a school board to remove instructional materials or curriculum;
- Establish a process for the California State Department of Education to purchase adequate standards-aligned instructional materials for a district, if the district has failed to provide them for students; and
- Institute a funding penalty for school districts that do not sufficiently provide standards-aligned instructional materials.
California provides instruction and support services to roughly 5.9 million students in grades transitional kindergarten through twelve in more than 1,000 districts and over 10,000 schools throughout the state. Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, education funding is at a record high in California, totaling $129.2 billion in the 2023-24 budget.
Governor Newsom released a video to Temecula parents that can be viewed here.
Temecula's school board rejected a textbook used by thousands of students & now kids will begin the school year without the tools they need.— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) July 13, 2023
If the school board won’t do its job, we'll get the book to kids & parents – then bill the district & fine them for violating state law. pic.twitter.com/gpN1TT7AVp
Acting Governor Toni Atkins signs legislation in historic first
She’s the 1st person to have served as Senate President pro Tempore & Assembly Speaker & first Out LGBTQ+ person to serve as Acting Governor
SACRAMENTO – Acting Governor Toni G. Atkins, who is the first person in 150 years to have served as both Senate President pro Tempore and Assembly Speaker, today became the first Senate President pro Tempore in California history to sign legislation into law as Acting Governor.
Among the measures she signed is AB 588 by Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas – the Speaker’s first bill to be enacted into law since his swearing-in on Friday.
“The honor and privilege to sign these bills into law is not lost on me. For legislators, the authorship and shepherding of a bill through the legislative process is what we do, and I’m humbled to experience the other side of the process by signing these bills into law,” said Atkins, who also is the first openly LGBTQ+ person to have served as Acting Governor. “These three pieces of legislation — which impact public transit, shared mobility devices, and local water management — will continue our efforts to protect our state and enhance our communities, and I’m happy to be able to help my Assembly colleagues, including our new Speaker Robert Rivas, get their work across the finish line.”
AB 588 by Assembly Speaker Rivas expands eligibility for the City of Watsonville’s appointed board member on the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, providing greater flexibility to the Agency to help ensure representation for residents.
“I am grateful for the administration’s support of AB 588. California’s water challenges are ongoing. But signing this bill into law ensures residents of Watsonville will be represented in future decisions regarding their region’s water systems. It also safeguards the Pajaro Valley agriculture community’s representation,” said the Assembly Speaker.
The full list of bills signed today can be found below:
- AB 354 by Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen (D-Elk Grove) – Sacramento Regional Transit District: board of directors: membership.
- AB 410 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-South Los Angeles) – Shared mobility devices.
- AB 588 by Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) – Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency Act: board members.
For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
California awards $5.7 million for 2S/LGBTQ+ opioid outreach
More than 1.8 million individuals in California identify as part of the 2S/LGBTQ+ population. “2S” refers to “Two-Spirit
SACRAMENTO – As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s $1 billion Master Plan for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis, California today awarded $5.7 million for opioid and stimulant use education and outreach in Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ communities.
“California has an all-hands-on-deck strategy for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis impacting every community across our state and country,” said Newsom. “Education and outreach are critical tools in our arsenal – to prevent tragedy, to connect people with treatment, and to fight the life-threatening stigma that stops too many people from getting help. The best way forward is together – leaving no one alone in this battle.”
The grants will be used to increase awareness and education, for and within Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ communities, about opioids and stimulants, decrease stigma related to drug use and treatment, and integrate and strengthen treatment referral pathways for opioid use disorder and stimulant use disorder.
“Awardees will support Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ organizations’ outreach and education activities for opioid use and stimulant use disorders, while creating tangible links to services and treatment providers within their communities,” said DHCS Director Michelle Baass. “These organizations are focused on the Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ community, striving for health equity through culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention and education projects.”
This funding opportunity awards $5.7 million to 25 entities, with a maximum of up to $250,000 per awarded entity for the 12-month contract period from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.
More than 1.8 million individuals in California identify as part of the 2S/LGBTQ+ population. “2S” refers to “Two-Spirit,” which is a Native American concept referring to sexual and gender diversity. Compared to heterosexual individuals nationwide, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults report higher rates of stimulant use and substance use disorders (SUD).
In 2019, 1.4 million LGB adults, nationally, reported illicit opioid (prescription pain reliever, fentanyl, heroin, etc.) use. Some factors contributing to opioid use and stimulant use in the 2S/LGBTQ+ community include mental illness, the risk of experiencing violence, structural stigma, and discrimination.
The project is part of DHCS’ broader efforts to address SUD as part of the California MAT Expansion Project, a holistic effort to increase access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), reduce unmet treatment needs, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. MAT is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders and can help some people sustain recovery. For more information, please visit the DHCS website.
The Governor has dedicated more than $1 billion in funding to fight the opioid crisis by removing opioids from the streets, providing resources to California communities in need, and increasing education and awareness to prevent harm.
In fiscal year 2022-23, DHCS is investing more than $558 million in various opioid prevention and treatment grant activities. Earlier this year, Newsom announced the state would begin the process for creating its own Naloxone – through the CalRx Initiative – to make the lifesaving drug more accessible and more affordable across California.
Fourth of July Weekend – Stay safe in the extreme heat
“Extreme heat can be deadly. Californians should take steps to protect themselves from the heat – stay cool, stay hydrated and stay connected”
SACRAMENTO – With a significant heatwave impacting much of inland California this weekend and into the Fourth of July holiday, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s ongoing preparedness and response efforts while urging Californians to take steps to protect themselves from extreme heat.
Extreme heat is deadly and climate change is making heatwaves longer and more frequent. According to the National Weather Service, extreme heat kills more Americans each year than any other extreme weather events, including wildfires, droughts, and floods.
Beginning today, excessive heat watches and warnings will be in place for large swaths of the state. Temperatures in Redding and Red Bluff will reach up to 108 degrees, while the Central Valley and all the way down to the desert southeast of the state could exceed 120 degrees.
“Extreme heat can be deadly. Californians should take steps to protect themselves from the heat – stay cool, stay hydrated and stay connected. California is taking more action now than at any point in our history to build climate resilience and protect communities – especially underserved Californians – from the real dangers of extreme heat,” Governor Newsom said.
Newsom has taken proactive steps to protect communities from the impacts of extreme heat. Last year he launched California’s Extreme Heat Action Plan, backed by more than $400 million in investments, to guide the state’s response to heatwaves, ensuring California is reaching vulnerable communities, protecting frontline workers and helping communities stand up cooling centers.
A current list of cooling centers open by county can be found here.
To protect communities most at risk of impacts from extreme heat and other climate-driven emergencies this summer, Cal OES and Listos California have released a new Summer of Safety campaign – a comprehensive suite of in-language messaging and materials on summer climate extremes. As summer weather brings new threats that could impact Californians, these risks are all interrelated and can have the greatest impact on more vulnerable Californians, including those 65 years of age or older; individuals with chronic illness, disabilities or who are pregnant.
It’s important for Californians to have the tools they need to stay safe from:
- Extreme heat
- Wildfire smoke
- Power outages
- Dangerous waters
More information as well as a directory of all resources released as part of the Summer of Safety can be found at ListosCalifornia.org/Summer.
Cal/OSHA is also reminding employers to protect workers from heat illness during high temperatures. California employers must take steps to protect workers from heat illness by providing water, rest, shade and training. Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites and Cal/OSHA is mobilizing enforcement efforts this weekend to ensure workers are protected. Learn more here.
HOW YOU CAN STAY SAFER FROM EXTREME HEAT:
Stay Cool (During the Hottest Times of the Day):
- Those without air conditioning should check with their city or county for cooling centers or visit public locations such as a library or shopping mall.
- Avoid physical exertion or exercising outdoors.
- Wear lightweight, light colored, loose clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, even when not thirsty; drink sports drinks (in moderation with water) to help replace electrolytes lost during exercise.
- Avoid sugary, alcoholic, and very cold drinks.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Monitor those at high risk of heat-related illness including infants and young children; people 65 years of age or older; individuals with chronic illness, disabilities or who are pregnant.
- Californians are also encouraged to check on their neighbors – call or visit vulnerable people, and offer to pick up groceries, medication, and other necessities. Older adults, young children and babies, people with chronic medical conditions and those who are pregnant are most vulnerable.
- Use a buddy system when working in the heat.
- Check the local news for weather forecasts, extreme heat alerts, and cooling centers.
Stay Safe Outdoors:
If you plan on enjoying California’s rivers, lakes, beaches and parks this holiday, remember to always be safe around the water. Warm summer weather is causing continued snow melt from winter’s record snowpack, resulting in colder and faster water that continues today. Make sure you and your family stay safe by keeping these quick safety tips in mind:
- Wear a Life Jacket: Water-related accidents can happen suddenly and rapidly. Make sure you and your loved ones wear properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Wearing them is the number one way to increase your chances of survival during an accident. Several public and private entities make life jackets available to the public on a loan basis. View Locations
- Protect Your Loved Ones:
- Always supervise children by appointing a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults. Do not assume that someone is watching your children.
- Know your limits. Swimming in a lake, ocean or river is different than swimming in a pool.
- If someone is in distress, seek help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1 if one is not available.
What is extreme heat? Extreme heat is defined in most of the U.S. as an extended period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. Extreme heat often results in the highest annual number of deaths among all weather-related disasters. California is experiencing more frequent episodes of extreme heat, posing a greater danger to Californians from heat-related illness.
LA Times poll: 4 in 10 California residents are considering leaving
80% of residents were dissatisfied with the cost of everyday living. Nearly 70% of residents were dissatisfied with the economy in California
LOS ANGELES – A new poll released Friday by the Los Angeles Times found 40% of residents say they’re contemplating moving out of California, with nearly half of them saying they’re considering that “very seriously.” About 61% pointed to the high cost of living here as the reason they’d go.
The Times polling also found that people of color are far more likely to say that the expense of living in California is the reason they might leave. About 71% of residents who are either Black or Asian/Pacific Islander and considering relocating cited the cost of living.
Nearly 30% of those surveyed said they might leave because the state’s policies and laws don’t align with their political views, a reflection of the polarization of the state and the nation at the moment. Respondents who identified as conservative were much more likely to cite the politics of the state as the reason why they were considering moving.
Self-identified Republicans were three times as likely as Democrats to say that the state’s politics were why they wanted to go.
4 in 10 California residents are considering packing up and leaving, new poll finds https://t.co/2pMkSS0JgH— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 23, 2023
The survey also provided some insight into the economic crunch many in the state feel. About 80% of residents said they were dissatisfied with the cost of everyday living expenses. Nearly 70% of residents said they were dissatisfied with the economy in California, and about 55% of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the cost of healthcare and housing costs.
In recent months inflation has been dropping, but that has come after a year of price increases and people’s perception of the country’s economic outlook turning sour. In California, where housing costs are especially high, that sense of living on the edge is ever present.
Read the entire article here: (Link)
Attorney General Bonta releases inaugural State of Pride report
First-of-its-kind report highlights actions to defend & expand civil rights of LGBTQ+ people despite ongoing threats to justice & equality
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride month, issued a new “State of Pride Report” highlighting the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent actions to support, uplift, and defend the rights of LGBTQ+ communities across California and beyond.
Pride Month is a time to celebrate the beautiful strength and diversity of LGBTQ+ communities, as well as to reflect on the struggles, sacrifices, and historic accomplishments of the LBGTQ+ civil rights movement.
Despite the immense progress that has been achieved, more work remains to be done. Amidst alarming and increasing attacks on LGBTQ+ communities — from book bans to states pushing discriminatory policies across the nation, DOJ remains steadfast in its commitment to fight alongside LGBTQ+ communities in pursuit of justice and equality.
“As a committed LGBTQ+ ally, I firmly believe that everyone deserves to be safe, healthy, prosperous, and celebrated for who they are — regardless of how they identify or who they love,” said Bonta. “As we come together this Pride Month to celebrate our LGBTQ+ communities, we must also recommit ourselves to the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights at home and across the country. Today’s report shows the California DOJ’s commitment to defending, expanding, and advancing LGBTQ+ rights. However, I know that there is substantial work yet to be accomplished. Our pursuit of equality knows no boundaries, and I vow to continue using every tool at my disposal to protect and promote the rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals.”
The State of Pride Report presents detailed insights into DOJ’s latest initiatives to confront hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. One significant initiative is the launch of the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement (CARE), and collaborating with community organizations and the public to proactively address hate crimes.
The report emphasizes the efficacy of the Attorney General’s Hate Crime Rapid Response Protocol, which equips local law enforcement with the essential resources to efficiently handle significant hate crimes and extremism. Furthermore, DOJ is committed to combating discrimination in classrooms, sports, healthcare, and public spaces.
The report focuses on DOJ’s work to cultivate safe environments for LGBTQ+ students free from bullying, enable transgender athletes to participate in sports aligned with their gender identity, offer LGBTQ+ individuals access to gender-affirming healthcare, and advocate for inclusive public business accommodations, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The State of Pride Report also underscores the ongoing adversities LGBTQ+ individuals face in California and nationwide.
Despite considerable progress, many LGBTQ+ individuals still experience discrimination, harassment, and violence in their daily lives, and transgender individuals are especially vulnerable, facing high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. These challenges demonstrate the need for ongoing protective efforts to uphold and expand LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights, enable all individuals to live free from discrimination and violence, and collaborate toward creating a more just and inclusive society.
Key data points in the State of Pride Report depict the reality of hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals:
- About 2.7 million or 9.1% of California adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — the largest share of any highly populated state and one that is “considerably higher” than the national figure of 7.9%.
- Unfortunately, in California between 2021 and 2022, there were over 391 reported hate crime events motivated by sexual orientation bias, and 45 hate crimes motivated by anti-transgender or anti-gender non-conforming bias.
- LGBTQ+ children have been victimized and bullied at rates four times higher than their non-LGBTQ+ peer groups. This hate has a compounding impact on their physical and mental well-being: Nearly half of all LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered suicide in 2022.
- Across the United States, 2022 was a record-breaking year for state-level, anti-LGBTQ+ bills, with more than 200 pieces of legislation introduced in over 40 state legislatures that aimed to codify discrimination in classrooms, sports, healthcare, and public spaces.
This data underscores the pressing need for sustained, vigorous efforts to combat hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities in California and across the nation.
The State of Pride Report can be accessed at https://oag.ca.gov/lgbtq.
For additional information on hate crimes and LGBTQ+ discrimination, please visit https://oag.ca.gov/hatecrimes.
Governor, AG, & State Superintendent warn against book bans
The joint letter sent Thursday highlights case law and constitutional precedent that restricts the removal of books from libraries and schools
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond sent a joint letter to all county school superintendents, district school superintendents, and charter school administrators cautioning against book bans.
The letter released on Thursday, June 1, outlines pertinent educational civil rights and corresponding legal mandates school administrators are required to follow to preserve freedom and ensure access to diverse perspectives and curricula.
“In the first half of this school year alone, 1,477 books were banned nationally, with teachers and librarians threatened with prison time for shelving the wrong book,” said Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Superintendent Thurmond.
“As state leaders elected to represent the values of all Californians, we offer our response in one shared voice: Access to books – including books that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of Californians, and especially, those that may challenge us to grapple with uncomfortable truths – is a profound freedom we all must protect and cultivate.”
The joint letter sent Thursday highlights case law and constitutional precedent that restricts the removal of books from libraries and schools; the responsibilities of school administrators to provide students exposure to various world views; and the legal mandates that require school administrators to provide an unbiased curriculum to students and preserve freedom of speech.
Additionally, the joint letter informs local educational agencies that if they remove or ban instructional materials from classrooms or libraries, they may be requested to provide information to the Attorney General’s Office for analysis.
While other states ban books, California is improving education outcomes and investing tens of billions of dollars to improve literacy. California outperformed most states — including Florida and Texas — in mitigating learning loss during the pandemic, and through historic levels of school funding, the state is building a cohesive structure of support for educators and students that reflects a focus on equity, inclusion, and academic success.
Equality California’s Executive Director Tony Hoang responded to the letter in a statement:
“At a time when over a dozen states have already passed laws banning books and censoring school curriculum, we applaud this clear and forceful guidance from the highest offices in our state unequivocally demonstrating their commitment to providing unfettered access to an inclusive and accurate education for all students.
Across California, we are witnessing a growing number of school districts considering and passing policies to censor curriculum, books, and other materials discussing racism and even the very existence of LGBTQ+ people. These actions create a hostile learning environment for LGBTQ+ and other marginalized students and send them the harmful message that their history and experiences should be ignored.
Nearly 2 in 3 LGBTQ+ young people said that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ+ people at school made their mental health worse. The link between supportive school environments, access to affirming resources, and youth mental health could not be clearer.
This guidance from the Governor, the Attorney General and the State Superintendent is a welcome counter to the vile and hateful attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups. Any school district that attempts to ban books or erase the experiences of LGBTQ+ people will be forced to answer to the state’s chief law enforcement officer.
California will continue to lead by example by cultivating and protecting access to books that are vital to prepare youth for civic participation, instill values needed to maintain our democracy, and teach about subjects that are a very real part of our shared history and understanding. That is what makes California stronger each and every day.”
UC Santa Cruz students celebrate Hitler’s birthday with cake
Gov. Newsom weighed in calling both incidents sick & disgusting adding that these “kinds of acts” have no place in California
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – According to Akirah Bradley-Armstrong, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Santa Cruz, a group of unidentified students met on campus on April 20, Hitler’s birthday, and reportedly sang “Happy Birthday” to the Nazi leader and served cake “adorned with hateful and horrific symbols.”
“White supremacy has no place at UC Santa Cruz,” Bradley-Armstrong said in a press release statement adding that the university “unequivocally condemns” the incident. “Nor does any action intended to degrade, dehumanize, or intimidate another based on identity.”
The incident has been referred to student conduct officials for “follow-up and adjudication,” she noted.
In another hate incident the following day on April 21, a student “found an antisemitic and anti-LGBTQIA+ flyer on their car’s windshield” downtown, the university said. The flyer included “despicable and degrading claims” about Jews and LGBTQIA+ people.
University officials are following up with Santa Cruz city officials about that incident.
“These disturbing incidents follow a national trend of increased antisemitic rhetoric and violence,” Bradley-Armstrong said. “Whatever the purpose and wherever they take place, we reject any and all acts of antisemitism.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom weighed in on Twitter angrily calling both incidents sick and disgusting adding that these “kinds of acts” have no place in California.
This is absolutely sick. These kinds of disgusting acts have no place in California. https://t.co/rqXo933kLy— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 4, 2023
UC Santa Cruz had an enrollment of 19,478 for fall 2022, according to the university, which is located about 75 miles southwest of San Francisco.
New statewide hotline to report hate acts in California launched
Visit CAvsHate.org or call 833-8-NO-HATE for resources and to report acts of hate. Callers can receive assistance in over 200 languages
SACRAMENTO – In response to a rise in hate crimes and at the start of Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Governor Gavin Newsom, along with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), today, announced the official launch of CA vs Hate, a new multilingual statewide hotline and website that provides a safe, anonymous reporting option for victims and witnesses of hate acts.
CA vs Hate is in direct response to the rise in reported hate crimes in California, which in recent years, reached their highest levels since 2001 – jumping almost 33% from 2020 to 2021.
“Here in California, we are sending an unequivocal message that hate will not be tolerated,” said Newsom. “We stand firm for a California for All and it is important that we hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and provide resources for those individuals victimized by hate crimes. Now, Californians have another tool to ensure that not only justice is served, but that individuals have access to additional resources to help deal with the lingering wounds that remain after such a horrendous crime occurs.”
“In California, our diversity is what makes the nation’s most populous state a beautiful and vibrant community,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom at an event in Sacramento launching this new program.
“It’s horrifying that hate crimes are on the rise, and so let it be made clear: we stand with our diverse communities, and we are committed to ensuring they feel safe and heard. There is no room here for bigotry and hate-fueled violence.” Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) started the conversation to create a state hotline to report hate crimes in 2021 – this program will help individuals and communities targeted for hate including Asian Americans, Latinos, Black Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, religious minorities, and other communities that make up California’s diversity and strength. Hotline services are confidential and provided for free, regardless of immigration status. These services are offered in a culturally competent manner and will help people identify options and next steps after a hate incident or hate crime has occurred. Hate acts can be reported in 15 different languages through the online portal and in over 200 languages when calling the hotline.“
With the launch of the Ca vs Hate Resource Line and Network, we unequivocally state that there is no home or place for hate in California,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez.
“We are doubling down on our commitment to combat hate by embracing the strength of our diversity and empowering Californians with resources and support to prevent and end hate in all forms.”“
California is strong because of our diversity but hate-fueled violence remains a persistent and growing threat,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish. “With the launch of CA vs Hate, we’re taking action to help put a stop to hate and to provide support for victims, survivors, and their families. In the face of hate across the nation, we stand united in declaring: California is for everyone. I urge all Californians to know their rights and to take advantage of these important resources.”
The hotline will also be complemented by a multilingual outreach campaign, emphasizing community engagement. The campaign aims to support efforts that encourage reporting and access to resources through targeted public service announcements, direct marketing, and other activities. CA vs Hate also seeks to overcome reporting challenges – whether due to fear of retaliation, lack of trust, or other issues – by offering people targeted for hate a community-centered approach that does not require engagement with the criminal legal system.
The CA vs Hate Resource Line and Network is a non-emergency, multilingual hate crime and incident reporting hotline and online portal. Reports can be made anonymously by calling (833) 866-4283, or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT or online at any time.
For individuals who want to report a hate crime to law enforcement immediately or who are in imminent danger, please call 911. For more information on CA vs Hate, please visit CAvsHate.org.
Calif. Dept. of Public Health slammed over LGBTQ data collection
Outside of LGBTQ circles, the issues impeding SOGI data collection had largely flown under the radar until the COVID pandemic hit in 2020
By Matthew S. Bajko | The state’s auditor has faulted the California Department of Public Health for being sclerotic with its efforts to collect LGBTQ demographics and criticized the agency for having inconsistent policies on how local health officials should be gathering such information.
In a report released Thursday, the auditor suggested lawmakers need to take additional legislative steps to address the ongoing issues with the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data.
“The lack of consistent SOGI data collection procedures, and ultimately the low number of Public Health forms that currently collect SOGI data, indicate that changes to state law may be warranted to compel more consistent and useful SOGI data collection practices,” concluded California State Auditor Grant Parks in an April 27 letter he submitted to state leaders.
Titled “The California Department of Public Health: It Has Not Collected and Reported Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data as State Law Intended,” the 45-page report detailed myriad problems with the state agency’s SOGI data efforts. Out of 129 forms used by CADPH, 105 were exempted from collecting SOGI data because a third party, such as a local health jurisdiction, oversees them, found the audit.
“This exemption severely limits the amount of SOGI data the department is required to collect,” Parks noted in a fact sheet accompanying his report.
Even with the 24 forms that are required to collect SOGI data, the auditor found only 17 “do so in a complete manner.” Parks’ report also noted that “because of resource and technical limitations,” CADPH is unable to export the SOGI data it collects for over 100 of the 128 reportable disease conditions to an electronic database it oversees.
“Public Health has only made SOGI data available to the public from 17 of the forms we reviewed, and it has not reported directly to the Legislature any SOGI data from the forms we reviewed,” noted Parks.
As the Bay Area Reporter has noted in numerous articles over the years, SOGI data collection remains woefully inadequate and plagued with technical problems at every level of government. Even in San Francisco, where the city’s public health department has been on the forefront of LGBTQ health issues, the local agency has been criticized for its inability to collect the SOGI data of the people it treats and provides services to across its multiple health centers and programs.
San Francisco officials and state lawmakers nearly a decade ago had mandated that health officials begin collecting SOGI data. But almost immediately the efforts ran into problems, from how to word the questions asked of patients to needing to update the electronic data record systems health agencies use so the SOGI data could be entered.
Outside of LGBTQ circles, the issues impeding SOGI data collection had largely flown under the radar until the COVID pandemic hit in 2020. The global health crisis brought to the fore just how blind health officials remain about the needs of LGBTQ people.
Despite a California law signed by former governor Jerry Brown that had mandated the state’s departments of health care services, public health, social services, and aging begin gathering SOGI data in 2016, state health officials did not know how many LGBTQ residents of the Golden State were infected with the deadly coronavirus when it began ravaging the state three years ago. To this day, no such data is available.
Nor is it known how many LGBTQ people died from COVID or have gotten vaccinated for it. The lack of such data persists despite state lawmakers adopting a bill in 2020 requiring health officials to collect it.
Fed up with the situation, a number of LGBTQ state lawmakers in 2021 had called for an audit of the SOGI data collection efforts. Among them was gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who has been a vocal critic about the lackluster LGBTQ demographic data collection in California for the last three years and authored the 2020 bill requiring SOGI data collection pertaining to communicable diseases.
Wiener could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday regarding the auditor’s report. But in a statement he called the audit findings “extremely concerning” and renewed his demands on health officials that they do a better job on SOGI data collection.
“The Department of Public Health continues to use an overly narrow approach to SOGI data collection, which prevents us from understanding the full health needs of the LGBTQ community,” stated Wiener. “The Department needs to institute a centralized, comprehensive approach to collecting this data, update its data collection and analysis systems, and require data collection from third parties. I’m seriously considering legislation to implement the Auditor’s recommendations.”
In a response to Parks dated April 7 and released publicly Thursday, state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón pledged that the statewide health department would address the SOGI data issues raised in the auditor’s report.
“We believe in the importance of collecting SOGI data to identify disparities and acting to change inequities in California’s health systems,” wrote Aragón, who is also director of the state public health department and formerly worked for the San Francisco public health department. “Best practices related to SOGI data collection are evolving. Public Health will continue to strive to achieve and improve compliance in our data collection efforts and overall use of data to advance health equity in California.”
Aragón noted that the state health agency had “substantially complied” with the original SOGI legislation Assembly Bill 959, known as The LGBT Disparities Reduction Act. He listed, for example, CADPH adding SOGI questions to its Confidential Morbidity reports and updating the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange known as CalREDIE so it could receive data from local health jurisdictions.
Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the auditor’s report highlighted other issues that need to be addressed “that go beyond the requirements” of AB 959, which had been authored by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu when he served in the state Assembly. Aragón committed to reviewing the auditor’s recommendations and to reporting on the state health department’s progress within 60 days as well as in six months and next April.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the insights shared in the audit report. Public Health will both work to improve our own efforts, as well as support local health jurisdictions and health care providers to collect this data,” he wrote.
The state auditor’s full report can be downloaded here.
Matthew S. Bajko is the Assistant Editor of The Bay Area Reporter
The preceding article was previously published by the Bay Area Reporter and is republished by permission.
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