EL SOBRANTE – In response to the increase of hate crimes nationally – and tragic recent alleged hate crimes in West Contra Costa County – public officials and community groups convened a public forum to fight all forms of hate and intimidation.
A standing room only crowd attended the event on Saturday, December 10 at the Boys and Girls Club of El Sobrante, 4660 Appian Way in El Sobrante, and featured leaders including Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, and the Contra Costa Public Defender’s Office. Other partners include the City of Richmond Human Relations and Human Rights Commission, California Association of Human Relations Organizations, Department of Fair Housing and Employment, ACLU, CAIR, NAACP, Richmond Rainbow Pride, Catholic Charities, United Teachers of Richmond and West Contra Costa Unified School District.
“Our goals must be to protect the most vulnerable, stand up to intolerance at every level of society, insist on true justice, and embrace diversity as one of the greatest strengths of our neighborhoods, our cities, our state and our nation,” Supervisor Gioia said.
The event comes amid the backdrop of the rising visibility of hate and intolerance since the November 8 Presidential Election. Locally, the brutal killing of Will Sims in El Sobrante and the beating of Maan Khalsa in Richmond have shocked our communities. Sims, who was African American, and Khalsa, a Sikh of south Asian descent, were victims of alleged hate crimes.
The forum covered a range of topics, including hate crimes, intimidation and harassment, and the fear of deportation felt by immigrant communities. Representatives from various organizations will be present to listen to community concerns and offer resources. Elected officials will describe how their offices can help and engage with residents. The gathering will represent a strong and clear response to the deeply troubling examples of intolerance and hate crimes. The leaders agree that now is the time to show solidarity in support of all diverse communities and against hate and intolerance.
“In the wake of increased violence, I am encouraged that elected officials, labor, faith, civic and community leaders are coming together to address hate,” Assemblymember Thurmond said. “We must work together to determine how we can, in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘create the beloved community in America where brotherhood is a reality.’”