Attacks on black O.C. family prompt anti-hate forums
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After an Orange County family fled their Yorba Linda neighborhood in response to years of taunts, slurs and vandalism, a series of town hall forums is to be held to encourage African American families to talk about their experiences and the discrimination they might have faced.
The ‘Listening Sessions’ are being organized by the Orange County Human Relations Commission with local activist organizations and churches, with the first scheduled for Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. at Christ Our Redeemer Church in Irvine.
The sessions come after an outpouring of concern in the wake of the publicized experience of a Yorba Linda family who, over a period of two years, had rocks thrown through their windows, car tires slashed, racial slurs hurled at them and acid pellets shot into their garage.
In Yorba Linda, African Americans make up just 1% of the population -- and even as Orange County grows increasingly diverse, the African American population stands at only 2%.
Doug Wooley, a member of the Human Relations Commission, said in a statement that the intent of the forums is to hear ‘stories of the African American experience in O.C., including hate incidents or crimes that may not have been reported.’
‘Racist behavior and hate crimes are not tolerated in Orange County,’ he added.
The commission -- which has published a report on hate crimes in the county since 1991 -- said African Americans have been the most targeted victims of hate crimes, despite making up such a small portion of the population. The commission said its most recently published report, covering 2011, showed an uptick in crimes against African Americans.
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-- Rick Rojas