Civil Rights Advocacy

The Arc of California coordinates a working group of major California civil rights organizations advocating for much better enforcement of the hate crime laws. Our leadership role lets us ensure that anti-disability hate crimes receive the special attention they deserve.

In 2017 we lead other civil rights groups in successfully seeking a state performance audit of state and local law enforcement agencies’ response to hate crimes. The audit found many inadequacies, which the Department of Justice, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (with our assistance), and some local law enforcement agencies are taking action to correct.

In 2018 we and Equality California sponsored Assemblymember Philip Ting’s AB 1985, requiring law enforcement agencies to upgrade their formal policies on hate crime law enforcement. The new policies must include special attention to recognizing anti-disability hate crimes. The Legislature passed the bill unanimously and Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed it into law effective January 1, 2019.

In 2019 we are sponsoring Senator Ben Hueso’s Senior and Disability Justice Act. If successful, this major bill will lead to every local law enforcement agency adopting a tough policy on investigating crimes of abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes or homicide of adults or children with disabilities, including disabilities caused by aging.

In coalition with other disability groups, we also are continuing to press Attorney General Xavier Becerra to take action to revive former Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s “Face It, It’s a Crime” public information campaign encouraging reporting of abuse in nursing homes.