Elected officials and Asian American activists gathered Friday in San Francisco to celebrate $14 million in state funding to combat a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Phil Ting, an assemblymember representing San Francisco who serves as chair of the state Budget Committee, said it is “gratifying” to see the first round of grants being disbursed after California made a historic $166 million budget allocation to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
“The funding will help provide victims with essential services and resources, as well as strengthen violence prevention programs,” Ting said in a statement released before the event.
AAPI community-based nonprofits across the state, including here in San Francisco’s Chinatown, are expected to receive funds as part of a larger effort to boost public safety and awareness of harassment and hate crimes targeting AAPI people during the pandemic. A report released in January found that hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent in San Francisco spiked by more than 500% last year.
Among the 80 grantees, Oakland-based Asian Health Services is the Bay Area regional lead, receiving over $543,000. Several Chinatown-based nonprofits, including Self-Help for the Elderly, Chinese for Affirmative Action and Chinatown Community Development Center, also were selected to receive grants.
“These past two years of global pandemic and heightened white supremacy and racism have been incredibly taxing on our young people,” said Shaw San Liu, the executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association. The association, which runs youth and student programs, received $250,000.
Liu said that investments in wellness, leadership and cross-racial understanding, especially for younger generations, is “of paramount importance for a future free from hate and racism.”
A second round of grants is expected to be announced this summer. In addition to the anti-hate crime funding, the budget also secured $26.5 million to help build a new art and media center in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Other funding categories include investments in education programs and ethnic media.
Han Li can be reached at [email protected]