Press Release

HRC mobilizes small grants process to address anti-Asian sentiment & escalating hate violence

The Human Rights Commission releases a request for proposal to address the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in the City, while building cross-cultural solidarity.
May 12, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Human Rights Commission will today release a request for proposal to address the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in the City, while building cross-cultural solidarity.  Through this RFP, and together with San Francisco Mayor London Breed and members of the Board of Supervisors, the Human Rights Commission is committed to addressing the rise of hate crimes in San Francisco, which have doubled over the last five years, with the largest increases from hate crimes due to racial bias.

In order to address the continuing, escalating hate violence across City communities, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission will administer a request for proposal: Small Grants to Support Asian and Pacific Islander Community Safety Initiatives, Cross-Cultural Activities, and Transformation. Mayor Breed noted, “Diversity has always been our city’s strength, and during this critical time, we must build on the progress we have made working to uplift all San Franciscans. The Community Innovation Grant establishes a new opportunity for community organizations to work together on various violence prevention, intervention, and harm reduction initiatives to improve safety and address the rise in AAPI hate. I remain committed to ensuring that our city invests in the necessary resources to keep everyone safe so we can all be proud to call San Francisco home.”

By identifying the issues of inequity underlying hate incidents in San Francisco, and focusing on prevention and responses from a social justice and equity lens, the HRC is ensuring that not only are those who are harmed have an opportunity to heal, but that there is a structured investment in neighborhoods and communities to prevent further racialized incidents. Due to the narrow legal definition of a hate crime, SFPD and FBI statistics do not capture the full extent of hate violence that San Franciscans are experiencing. Many community organizations have noted that their members and clients are unwilling to report hate incidents and hate crimes because of fear and distrust of justice agencies.

Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sheryl Davis led the examination of the Citywide Public Safety Landscape Analysis, to examine acts of Anti-Asian hate, bias, and violence.  “All of our findings in this work have demonstrated that hate violence across San Francisco neighborhoods and communities has been escalating.  We have been failing to meet the needs of people and systems who are being impacted by hate violence.  This request for proposal opens space for community nonprofits to join in the work of going to the root causes of this violence, and supporting those who need it most.”

There has been cross-community solidarity between a number of faith-based groups and legacy civil rights organizations in the City, including the NAACP, led by the Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, President, who is Pastor of the historic Third Baptist Church in the Fillmore District.  Rev. Brown noted that: “Overt acts of racism and violence directed at our Asian brothers and sisters have increased by 560% in the past two years alone. Such acts are especially disturbing when they are committed by those in one marginalized community against those in another. Together, we also call on Mayor Breed, the Board of Supervisors and all our elected officials to take action with us – to speak out against growing racially motivated violence and all forms of violence that are motivated by ethnic hate towards Asians or perpetrated against those who appear to be vulnerable.”

From District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar: “This funding will support innovative community-led programs that prevent hate and violence impacting Asian American, Pacific Islander and other vulnerable communities. The funding priorities reflect key findings from the Citywide Public Safety Landscape Analysis, which I called for last year to strengthen our City’s commitment and response to the surge in anti-Asian hate.”

Commissioner Irene Riley worked with community on this effort, and noted: “This Request for Proposals in the amount of $400,000 is focused on delivering culturally responsive services to improve outcomes in preventing, intervening in, and healing from hate violence for Asian and Pacific Islander communities and communities throughout San Francisco.” The RFP seeks proposals in four program areas: public safety; cross-cultural solidarity; transformative justice; and language access. The best proposals would also identify and address any underlying causes of hate violence or other race-based structural violence. This RFP has been heavily informed by the Citywide Public Safety Landscape Analysis conducted by HRC.

In 2021, the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco passed a resolution denouncing the rise of hate violence targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, calling for ‘an inventory and an analysis of existing policies and programs’ related to hate violence prevention and victim support. This analysis was prepared by the Human Rights Commission. The primary findings include:

  • Hundreds of programs are funded and delivered across the City, with varying frameworks for understanding and addressing hate incidents and crimes, and no consistent training or reporting. 
  • There are no established restorative justice or transformative justice pathways specifically for hate incidents. 
  • Despite the existing Language Access Ordinance, the City is still not providing full language access services.