SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Local county and city legislators could soon gather a task force to combat and address hate crimes in Santa Clara County following deadly shootings throughout the country, including one at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July.
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to act on a proposal from Supervisor Cindy Chavez to combat hate crimes in the county—something other local lawmakers are pushing for too.
“Once the Gilroy shootings occurred, it reminded me that sometimes I had been thinking that we were in a very safe space,” Chavez said. “I don’t think I fully appreciated that we were part of a very angry world with a very angry president that’s created an overlay of very angry people in our community.”
The board on Tuesday voted unanimously to move forward with the time-limited working group.
The task force will work on plans for preventing hate crimes, protecting women from hate crimes, coming up with recommendations to combat the illegal gun trade through law enforcement investments and recommend programs to implement in local schools to educate students on hate crimes and how to prevent them.
The task force will also work with law enforcement “to monitor the proliferation of hate speech,” according to Chavez’s memo to the board.
The group will also research existing laws and ways to extend them that offer further protections for women against hate crimes.
San Jose City Councilmembers Maya Esparza, Magdalena Carrasco, Sylvia Arenas and Pam Foley recently penned a similar proposal, also calling for a hate crimes task force. The councilmembers’ proposal passed through the city’s rules committee in August.
“When we were still reeling from Gilroy, then came El Paso and then Dayton,” Esparza said during Tuesday’s board meeting, referencing two deadly shootings in America that happened just days after the shooting in Gilroy.
“And really, there’s a common thread in these attacks—this domestic terrorism, this white nationalism that is really emboldened by the rhetoric that we’re seeing from our national leaders,” she said.
Esparza lost a 6-year-old cousin, Stephen Romero, in July’s shooting in Gilroy. Two more of Esparza’s family members were also shot during the attack.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.