California Legislators Pass $200 Million Budget to Combat Anti-Asian Hate

On Monday, California passed a $200 million budget plan to combat anti-Asian hate within its borders, where some of the country’s highest rates of anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan: The budget, proposed by the California Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (APILC) last month, will be satisfied over a three-year period for direct responses, long-term measures and administrative uses.

  • More than half of the budget ($109.5 million) will go to “Victims Services and Prevention.” This will fund nonprofits and community-based organizations to offer “legal services, health care, mental health, victim’s compensation or counseling” for free.
  • Other direct responses include the establishment of a statewide hate crimes hotline ($10 million) and the economic revitalization of ethnic enclaves ($20 million). A sum of $20 million will also assure safe schools for AAPI students through a “restorative justice pilot program” ($10 million), funding for higher education ($5 million) and investment in peer support networks on social media ($5 million).
  • Long-term plans include: (1) a donation of $10 million to Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition based in the state that has monitored anti-Asian incidents since March 2020; (2) the establishment of a “California Interpreters Corps” ($10 million; (3) promotion of data equity ($10 million) and (4) the formation of a “racial bias task force.”

What proponents are saying: The APILC lauded their proposal as part of a mammoth $260 billion state budget, which can still be amended before September. The legislators are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to keep the full budget, according to LAist.

  • “The Legislature must pass a budget by June 15. The governor is required to sign it by June 30,” according to CapRadio.
  • Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) led the proposal as chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. He called it “a historic proposal because it’s really a flashpoint for our community to stand up and to ask to be seen, but also ask to be heard.”
  • Manjusha Kulkarni, of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), is among community leaders who offered recommendations for the proposal. She said that instead of focusing on punishing perpetrators, mediation sessions may be held to allow victims to explain the trauma they have experienced directly to those perpetrators.

The APILC held a press conference on Twitter to discuss more about the budget today.

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Featured Image Screenshot via AFP News Agency

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