County of Orange Celebrates 50 Years of Human Relations Commission and Increases Funding to Stop Hate

Orange County, CA – December 17, 2021

The Orange County Board of Supervisors celebrated 50 years of work of the Human Relations Commission on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at a presentation before their regular meeting.

The Commission was founded in 1971 to seek out the causes of conflict, discrimination and intolerance, and eliminate those causes. Among its many accomplishments, the Commission began reporting on hate activity in the early 1990s and continues to publish an annual hate crime report. In recent years, the report has shown an alarming uptick in reported hate motivated activity, most notably in 2020, an 1800% increase in hate incidents targeting those who are or are perceived to be Asian American.

In response to the multi-year increase and the 2020 surge of hate activity, the supervisors followed the recommendation of the Commission with a unanimous vote to increase the funding that supports the anti-hate work of the Commission by approving a $1M contract to the non-profit organization the OC Human Relations Council – who currently provides staff support to the county commission – to enhance and expand programs and services related to preventing and reducing hate activity in Orange County.

The funding will:

  1. Improve accessibility to reporting platforms and resources that meet language, cultural, and diversity needs.
  2. Improve community understanding and engagement to address hate and bias.
  3. Expand the network of organizations that engage in anti-hate work.
  4. Create and implement mobile-friendly ways to report hate.

“We are thankful for this investment from the county, it shows that they were listening to the community leaders who shared their growing concern for the five-year increase in hate activity in our region. Together, those leaders, the Board of Supervisors, and the Human Relations Commissioners have created a vision for collaboration that will ensure that those who are impacted by hate will have essential resources and they are sending the message that in Orange County we will work together to create a safe and inclusive county for all,” said Alison Edwards Chief Executive Officer of Orange County Human Relations.

The OC Human Relations Council will be partnering with local non-profits and community-based organizations to provide expanded outreach, education and services for those targeted by hate, all in multiple languages. Norma Lopez, a non-profit employee who serves as the Executive Director of the County’s Human Relations Commission, will lead the implementation of the contract which was designed by the Human Relations Commissioners based on community input gathered at multiple listening sessions held in early 2021.

About Orange County Human Relations Council
For 30 years OC Human Relations Council has supported the broader Orange County community in building mutual understanding among residents to create safe, inclusive communities free from violence, discrimination, harassment, and intergroup conflict. The Council mediates conflict and delivers diversity and inclusion programs, through five core programs across the county: BRIDGES Safe and Respectful Schools, Restorative School Program, Community Building, Dispute Resolution and Training on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.