City and religious leaders hold anti-hate solidarity vigil
City, community and faith leaders gathered to honor the lives lost to hate May 23 at a candlelight vigil hosted by the Department of Civil and Human Rights and Equity (LA Civil Rights) and the First AME Church.
The vigil, which included Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders, comes after recent attacks in Buffalo, NY that killed ten people, all of them African American, and a shooting at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods that left killed one and injured five others.
“In Los Angeles, there is no place for hatred and we denounce the scourge of racism and violence that has claimed so many lives,” Garcetti said. “We come together in grief and anger, but also with purpose: to commit to fighting back with the love and belonging that define our City of Angels.”
“As our hearts are heavy with grief at the loss of the lives that were stolen from us in Buffalo and Laguna Woods, honoring each of the legacies they left behind is precisely how we even begin to fight prejudice and hate,” council member Curren Price said. . “Our country has reached a crossroads, where tolerance is fleeting and skin tones are weaponized; we must not allow ignorance to flourish and we certainly cannot return to where we once were. Our differences are, after all, what makes us great. United, we will always stand.
“We stand in solidarity with the grief and loss as we hold yet another vigil. We need to recognize this for what it is – a hate crisis,” Council Member Paul Koretz said. “Vigils like these happen far too often here in California and across the country. Shootings and homicides have continued to rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Los Angeles has been no exception. With such staggering numbers and the sharp rise in hate crimes, it’s yet another reason I’ve worked for years to keep the most dangerous guns out of circulation and to prevent those who aren’t legally allowed to possess to have access to it for them.”
“We are holding this vigil to honor the lives lost to hate in Buffalo and to create a space for people to mourn, heal and find community across cultures and religions,” said Capri Maddox, Director executive of LA Civil Rights. “These deadly attacks are not isolated incidents. Hate crimes and racially-motivated violence against many communities are increasing across the United States, including right here in Los Angeles. We need to unite and let it be known that when they come for one of us, they come for all of us.
The candlelight vigil in the chapel and parking lot of First AME included a reading of the names of those killed in the recent hate-motivated attacks and a prayer led by different religious leaders. Also in attendance were Chief Moore of the LAPD, leaders of the Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, and Episcopal faiths, leaders of African-American churches, as well as leaders of Asian American Advancing Justice-LA, the Korean American Christian Coalition and Women Against Gun Violence. . The vigil provided a space for mourning, healing and building solidarity against hate across cultures and religions.
Hate-motivated attacks in the United States are at their highest level since 2001 and continue to increase both locally and nationally. According to the California Department of Justice, hate crimes rose 31% statewide in 2020, primarily due to an increase in anti-Black bias. That same year, hate crimes in Los Angeles also increased against Latinos, transgender people, and immigrants. Hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the city have more than doubled.
Resources were also shared from LA Civil Rights’ LA for All campaign, an 18-language PSA anti-hate campaign that shares resources for reporting hate crimes and hate incidents in the city. Multi-colored posters inform people that if they see or experience a hate crime or incident, they can report it to the LAPD or by calling 311 or 211.
The Los Angeles Department of Civil Rights + Human Rights and Equity was established in 2020 to maintain and strengthen Los Angeles’ diversity, equity, and accountability through equity and empowerment programs , awareness and application of the fight against discrimination.