Queer orgs grateful for Stop the Hate state funding

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday August 30, 2023
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Governor Gavin Newsom. Photo: Courtesy Governor's Office
Governor Gavin Newsom. Photo: Courtesy Governor's Office

A number of nonprofits representing minority groups, including the LGBTQ community, are grateful for grants from the state aimed at fighting prejudice.

Governor Gavin Newsom's office announced the $91.4 million in funding to 173 local organizations on August 23 as part of the Stop the Hate campaign of the California Department of Social Services.

The announcement also comes on the heels of a sobering 2022 hate crimes report from Attorney General Rob Bonta's office, which the Bay Area Reporter previously reported. It showed reported hate crime events rose 20.2% last year, including increases in crimes reported against gay men, lesbians, and trans people.

"An attack on any of our communities is an attack on everything we stand for as Californians," Newsom stated in a news release announcing the funding awards. "As hate-fueled rhetoric drives increasing acts of bigotry and violence, California is taking action to protect those who are targeted just for being who they are. We're bolstering our support for victims and anti-hate programs and tackling ignorance and intolerance through education to prevent hate from taking hold in our communities."

The grants were announced shortly after the August 18 shooting death of straight ally Laura Ann Carleton, 66, who was gunned down by a man after he confronted her about a Pride flag she had displayed outside her Mag.Pi clothing store in Cedar Grove, near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California. The suspect, identified by authorities as Travis Ikeguchi, 27, fled the scene but was located by authorities and killed by police after he refused to drop his weapon.

Westside San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting (D) invoked the hate crimes numbers in his statement on the funding, noting that reported hate crimes against Asian Americans did decline after a precipitous spike during the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

"The latest statewide numbers show a decrease in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community last year, indicating our investments are paying off," Ting stated. "But we must continue building upon our work. The latest round of grants ensures victim resources and services remain available, while educational and cultural initiatives that foster greater understanding forge ahead. I remain hopeful acceptance and inclusion will win out over hate."

Forty-five recipients, for a total of $27,107,800 in funds, are headquartered in the Bay Area or the Central Coast, which are counted together by the California Health and Human Services Agency in its table of grantees. These include San Francisco's Community United Against Violence ($750,000), PRC ($620,000), the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center ($800,000), and Santa Barbara County's Pacific Pride Foundation ($475,000).

Pablo Espinoza, a co-executive director of Community United Against Violence, stated to the B.A.R. that "with these funds we will build up our capacity to provide the services and programs we currently provide."

These include emergency victim assistance, arts-based support groups, and leadership development for survivors of violence, Espinoza explained.

"We will also continue our work with and training of organizations that provide other services to LGBTQ+ survivors, such as housing, legal and medical/mental health, among others, to build their capacity to listen to and properly refer LGBTQ+ survivors who disclose violence, and connect them with CUAV, and thus maintain and strengthen a network so survivors of violence receive culturally relevant and competent services," Espinoza stated. "CUAV can in turn refer survivors out to these organizations when our clients need their assistance."

PRC provides opportunities and services to people living with HIV/AIDS and/or mental health conditions. Tasha Henneman, PRC's chief of policy and government affairs, stated to the B.A.R. that the nonprofit plans to use the money to create a film "featuring some of PRC's Black transgender clients."

"Our hope for the film is to bring awareness of our clients' health journeys, including as victims and survivors of hate crimes and bias," Henneman stated. "We intend the film to be used as a tool to elevate, center, and amplify their voices and experiences, through screenings, online distribution, and in-person discussions, creating broader and greater understanding and cross-cultural dialogue, that will help to facilitate acceptance, healing, and tolerance."

Other grantees

Other nonprofits also received state funding.

Kristin Flickinger, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation, told the B.A.R. that Santa Barbara just had its Pride festival on August 26.

"With Stop the Hate funding, Pacific Pride Foundation will develop a series of trainings for the Central Coast community designed to raise awareness regarding issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, including: Pronoun usage, the importance of connection for LGBTQ+ youth and for LGBTQ+ elders, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and the harm to LGBTQ+ youth mental health, how to be a good ally, history of drag and its use today," Flickinger stated.

"Funds will also be used for planning and facilitating the Pacific Pride Festival, including security planning, and to offset booth fees for community partners, as well as activation expenses for organizations co-creating the festival," Flickinger added. "We will also work with Black and Latine-serving organizations to cross-train organization staff, and to co-create events specifically for LGBTQ+ Black and Latine community members."

The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center did not return a request for comment for this report by press time.

Other queer-oriented beneficiaries include the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center ($300,000), the North County LGBTQ Resource Center ($565,000), the San Diego LGBT Community Center ($640,000), San Diego Pride ($550,000), the Los Angeles LGBT Center ($800,000), and the Equality California Institute ($630,000), the educational arm of the statewide LGBTQ rights organization.

"Equality California Institute is incredibly proud to receive generous funding from the Governor's office and the California Department of Social Services to continue our existing Stop the Hate programming, which consists of resource development for LGBTQ+ survivors of hate crimes and hate incidents, as well as engaging community organizations and partners in dialogue on suggested policy changes to combat amplified hate against the LGBTQ+ community," stated EQCA spokesperson Jorge Reyes Salinas.

Reyes Salinas also pointed to the uptick in reported hate crimes.

"With hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people on the rise — including here in the Golden State — this work is more important than ever," he added.

Roger A. Coggan, the director of legal services for the LA center, told the B.A.R. that "we are absolutely delighted" and that it's "something that will change the way we think about our anti-violence project."

"This money will be used to fight hate crimes against our entire community," Coggan said. "There'll be a special focus on the transgender and nonbinary communities, and we will be able to vastly increase our services at our trans wellness center in Koreatown, our south LA site, our Mi Centro site."

San Diego Pride did not return multiple requests for comment for this report.

This is the third and largest round of Stop the Hate grants — the first, for $14.3 million, was announced in March 2022 and the second, for $30.3 million, was announced in July of that year.

Last month, the B.A.R. was awarded $100,000 through the California State Library as part of an $8.1 million grant to ethnic media outlets and media collaboratives serving communities impacted by hate incidents and hate crimes.

The State of California offers help for victims or witnesses to a hate crime or hate incident. This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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