The OC Human Relations Commission released the 2019 Orange County Hate Crime Report on October 20, 2020. For the fifth consecutive year, the numbers of crimes and incidents increased. Hate crime was up 24% in 2019 over the previous year.

A statement from OC Human Relations CEO, Alison Edwards, on the report:

This week the Orange County Human Relations Commission has released the 2019 Hate Crime Report. It documents an alarming 5 year rise in hate crime in Orange County. But unlike the last 4 reports it comes out in the middle of a national movement for racial equity.

At our non-profit, OC Human Relations, we believe that all people deserve to live free of hate and violence. We have endeavored to bring attention to the impact of hate and hate crime on those targeted, the communities they identify with and our broader county.

Hate crime has a unique and devastating effect because it targets whole communities through the violence and terror against one of its members.

Just imagine how it would feel to know that someone who looks like you, loves like you, worships like you or even comes from your hometown has been attacked for being who they are. Imagine wondering if you could be next, if you can be safe being who you are and living true to your being.

Now remember that for the last 5 years more people have had to face this each year in Orange County as our numbers have increased – and that is just a reflection of the reported numbers. We know that hate crime is grossly underreported and that we likely do not hear from the majority of people who are targeted each year.

Now imagine a county where no one has those worries. A place where your life is not limited by the hate of others – where no one’s life is limited by the hate of others. Let’s go even further and imagine moving beyond the common notion that diversity is an issue to be? managed or dealt with. Let’s push back against the fear and rhetoric that would have us believe that so many of our neighbors are really our enemies.

I believe that we can do better and that we must. We are a diverse county, but we can do better. We can be an inclusive county where the people who live here feel safe and good about staying here. Where each of our friends and neighbors is free to contribute to the social and economic success of our region because we have broken through the barriers that bigotry and hate would out in our way.

But we can’t breakthrough those barriers without talking about hate, bias, racism, sexism, homophobia and all the forms of discrimination that stop us from achieving the liberty and justice for all that we as a nation have fought for at home and afar.

You are likely reading this because you already share these beliefs and support OC Human Relations through your time, talent and/or treasure.

From all of us here, I thank you for your commitment to positive human relations in our county. The people of our county need all of you to be champions for a diversity, inclusion and equity. Together we are building a world where we all feel safe, valued and included.

Download the 2019 Hate Crime Report