New Law Approved Amid Escalation in Hate-Motivated Violence and Calls for More State Resources to Protect Vulnerable Communities
- Dana Alpert
- Legislative/Communications Assistant
SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bipartisan measure authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills), Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, to strengthen protections for Californians facing hate-motivated violence. Assembly Bill (AB) 1664 will extend and strengthen California’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is currently set to expire in 2025.
The legislation was initially introduced by members of the Jewish Caucus following the hostage standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in January, reflecting a dramatic rise in anti-semitic hate crimes and targeted violence across the United States. A recent report by the California Attorney General shows that hate crimes have increased by 89% over the past decade.
“In a world where hate crimes and antisemitism are on the rise, we need more than thoughts and prayers to keep us safe,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “This new law will provide critical resources to protect vulnerable communities and send a powerful message that California stands firmly with those targeted by hate. I applaud Governor Newsom for his steadfast leadership in standing up to hate and bigotry and thank him for signing this important bill today.”
"As we continue to see increased hate crimes and antisemitic attacks across California and the United States, AB 1664 is a powerful counter response to keep our most vulnerable communities safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “I am grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this critical piece of legislation that will extend and strengthen the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Thank you Assemblymember Gabriel and sponsors for their tremendous leadership."
In addition to extending the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, AB 1664 will create more flexibility for how grant funding may be used, including for security training. Notably, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker from Congregation Beth Israel specifically highlighted the security training he had received from local and national organizations in helping to save his life and the lives of three others who were held hostage at his synagogue.
Assemblymember Gabriel authored legislation to establish the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2019 in the wake of the deadly shooting at Chabad of Poway, a synagogue in San Diego County. Since then, the program has funded critical security enhancements at religious institutions, LGBTQ community centers, reproductive health facilities, and other nonprofits deemed to be at risk from violent extremism. This year’s state budget included a $50 million allocation for the program, which was secured with the support of leaders and activists representing a broad coalition of vulnerable communities. California has funded a total of $110 million in anti-hate programs.
AB 1664 is supported by a coalition of marginalized communities at the center of hate-motivated violence:
- "In the midst of staggering levels of hate-motivated violence—targeting Jews and all vulnerable communities—we are fortunate to have the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program to protect at-risk institutions from attacks. JPAC co-sponsored Assemblymember Gabriel's bill to establish the program in 2019 because we knew first-hand the value it would provide. Given the overwhelming demand for this resource, we are proud to co-sponsor AB 1664 to extend this program and expand it to include security training. We are incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Gabriel for championing this legislation yet again." - David Bocarsly, Executive Director of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC)
- “In California, some non-profit organizations, including abortion providers, still face vandalism and threats of violence because of their mission-driven work. Assemblymember Gabriel has been a leader in responding to this unfortunate reality by repeatedly strengthening the California State Nonprofit Security Program. This grant has helped non-profit facilities pursue accountability when crime is committed against them, and more importantly, helps organizations proactively stay safe and accessible for their communities. We are glad to see the continuation of the Nonprofit Security Program – a critically important resource in this era of increasing hostility aimed at health care providers and LGBTQ+ community organizations.” - Molly Robson, Legislative Director for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
- “Since the start of the pandemic, Asian Americans, and especially women and the elderly, have been targeted by a staggering increase in hate, bias, and violence. With the continuous rise of anti-Asian hate, the need for state funding and resources has never been greater. Security and protection is a concern for every Asian American institution and beloved community center across California. We are grateful for Assemblymember Gabriel’s leadership on this issue and applaud Governor Newsom for signing AB 1664 into law today.” - Richard Konda, Executive Director of the Asian Law Alliance
- “We applaud Governor Newsom for showing that California is bigger than hate by signing AB 1664. With hate crimes against people of color, immigrants, the Jewish community, and LGBTQ+ people on the rise, communities must be protected and reminded that California is a safe haven for all.” - Tony Hoang, Executive Director of Equality California
- “As a supporter of AB 1664, we applaud Governor Newsom for signing this critical legislation into law. In the wake of the recent spike in hate crimes and bias incidents against Hindu Americans and Hindu temples, we're especially thankful to Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel for his continued leadership in ensuring that vulnerable institutions, organizations, and communities in the state are better protected from hate." - Samir Kalra, Managing Director of the Hindu American Foundation
- "While Sikhs have been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years, they remain disproportionately targeted in cases of bigotry, bias, bullying, and backlash. Gurdwaras (Sikh houses of worship) across the United States, including California, have also been vulnerable to vandalism and attacks. There is a clear need to extend and expand the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program and make the funding and services more readily available for communities that need it most. We are incredibly appreciative of Assemblymember Gabriel for championing this bill.” - Nikki Singh, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy at the Sikh Coalition