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The State of California has awarded over $5 million in grants to 46 ethnic media outlets and organizations serving communities that are historically targets of hate incidents and crimes. The grants will be used to raise awareness of the state’s Stop The Hate program, administered by California’s Department of Social Services.

The India Currents Foundation is honored to be among the grant recipients. Our non-profit magazine — which has served the community for more than 35 years — has received $100,000 to document racism and hate targeted at South Asian Americans.

Stop The Hate is a joint venture of the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs and the California State Library. The program aims to provide support services to victims of hate, while also working to prevent these crimes before they happen.

Alarming Rise Of Hate Crimes

The year-long initiative is a unique move to draw attention to the alarming rise of hate crimes against the Asian American community. The Web portal Stop AAPI Hate — which allows a victim to self report in one of several Asian languages — has recorded 10,905 hate incidents from March 19, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021. The incidents include verbal harassment, physical assault, being coughed on or spat upon, bullying, and civil rights violations. Almost half of the incidents have been in public spaces, such as streets, parks, or public transit.

Hate crimes are grossly under-reported, notes the FBI each year as it announces its annual results of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which tracks hate crimes, among other crimes. The FBI began disaggregating data for the South Asian American community in 2016, specifically tracking Sikhs and Hindus.

Sikhs And Hindus Targeted

In 2020, the last year for which data was available, the FBI recorded 89 hate crimes against Sikhs, 11 against Hindus, 110 against Muslims, and 15 against Buddhists.

The agency recorded 279 incidents of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. Stop AAPI Hate recorded 362 physical assaults against AAPIs from March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, amid a total of 3,795 incidents.

Law enforcement agencies are not mandated to provide data on hate crimes and do so on a voluntary basis. District Attorneys often do not add hate crime charges to an incident, as the burden of proof is difficult.

By telling the stories of victim and survivors, India Currents hopes to raise awareness of the crisis, and to activate our community to raise the issue with their local law enforcement agencies.

Love, Friendship, Community

We also look forward to telling the stories of love, friendship and community in multicultural settings. The Bay Area thrives on diversity and is replete with examples of friendship and community between the many cultural and ethnic groups that live here. Interracial relationships, fusion restaurants, dance, theatre and musical groups that are a blend of cultures and traditions are routine here.

California’s economy – the sixth largest on the planet – is powered by a multi-racial, multi-cultural, global workforce. We hope the stories we tell will remind readers that diversity is essential, and that each culture and community has beauty and exuberance to be shared and enjoyed.