A new study has found that hate crimes against Latinos in California continues to grow. According to Hate Crime in California, hate crimes against all minorities in California have increased since President Trump’s 2016 campaign. The study was conducted by the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in conjunction with four justice centers. The examples of the increased hostility against Latinos in California are easy to come by. There was the elote street vendor who had his cart thrown over by an upset pedestrian. An LA Times writer was yelled at in a park for speaking Spanish to her child. A 92-year-old grandfather was attacked with a piece of concrete while being told to go back to his country.
Hate Crime in California shows that while hate crimes in the U.S. have increased in the past year, California in particular has seen a 17 percent jump in hate crimes against all minorities. For Latinos, there was a 51.8 percent increase in hate crimes since President Trump won the presidency. The report also shows that violent hate crime offenses have increased 12.1 percent in the Golden State.
“There is a rhetoric, and we’ve actually witnessed some of this coming from the administration,” Maria Hinojosa told NPR about the hate crime increases. “So when you have members of the administration, including the president, calling specifically Latino/Latina immigrants infiltrators, vermin, animals, then I’m sure there are many people who say, well, wait a second – us, too. And how do you challenge that?”
Studies have shown that Latinos in particular do not report crimes regularly out of fear of the police and deportation. Some police officers have even threatened undocumented people with deportation if they report crimes that have been committed against them. Which means, the 52 percent figure reported by the Justice Department is probably a lot lower than it would be if Latinos reported crimes committed against them.
“Right around when the administration changed, we noticed an uptick at local, statewide and national levels of people reporting that they were victims of hate-related speech, and hate crimes,” Teresa Drenick, deputy district attorney for Alameda County, told The Mercury News.
You can read the entire report about California hate crimes here.
In Mexico, many in the trans community have become fearful for their lives as a record number of trans people have been killed in the country. Even with a pro-LGBTQ+ rights government at the helm, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office Dec. 1, has yet to put out any protections that would protect transgender people.
Upon taking office, President López Obrador made promises that his administration would conduct “effective” investigations into LGBTQ+ hate crimes and physical attacks. So far, these promises haven’t led to any changes violence has continued to increase against the LGBTQ+ community, according to a recent study by the LGBTQ+ rights group, Letra S.
From 2013-2018, 261 trans women have been killed in Mexico. Brazil is the only country more dangerous than Mexico for trans women.
While the study reflects numbers over a five-year span mostly before President López Obrador took office, death rates for trans women have already surged this year. 16 transgender women were reportedly killed from January to April this year already and at least six more since then, according to the Associated Press.
These growing numbers aren’t just a reflection of the dangers in Mexico but in Latin America as whole where these trends have continued. Trans women in Latin America are some of the most at-risk citizens facing sky-high rates of violence, sexual abuse, and homicide. An Amnesty International survey found that 88 percent of LGBTQ+ asylum-seekers from these areas have suffered sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin. From 2006 to 2016, 1,654 trans and gender-diverse people were killed in Central and South America.
So what is being done to help curb these homicide rates and pursue justice for those being killed? Not much.
Similar to other homicide-related crimes in Mexico, most of these attacks on the LGBTQ+ community have resulted in little to no actual convictions. According to the AP, less than 3 percent of LGBTQ+ homicides have resulted in a conviction since 2013.
In 2014, Mexico City became the first city in the country to allow trans people to change their gender and names on their legal birth certificates. This law has since been adopted by six of Mexico’s 32 states. Despite the progress in trans rights, a lot more needs to be done to protect people from violence and death.
There is still little being done to help the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico leaving community leaders and activists to pursue justice on their own.
Kenya Cuevas, a trans sex worker in Mexico, became an activist for the LGTBQ+ community when a fellow trans sex worker was killed in front of her. On Sept. 29, 2016, Cuevas’ friend, Paola Buenrostro was shot multiple times as she entered a john’s car. Cuevas ran to her friends rescue only to have the gun pointed at her but even though man pulled the trigger, she survived as the weapon jammed. She would hold the man until authorities came. She recorded everything that happened on her phone for evidence.
Despite Cuevas recording the incident and multiple witnesses on hand, the gunman was released from custody within a week. The incident lit a fire within Cuevas and inspired her to take matters into her own hands. She left the sex work industry and founded the organization Casa de Muñecas, a group that focuses on promoting protections for transgender women.
Cuevas has quickly become one of the most recognizable trans activists in Mexico who is calling for legal change in the country that would protect the trans community.
“When that happened to Paola, I protested and I did it publicly, asking for justice the entire time,” Cuevas told the AP. “I don’t want special treatment. Just give me justice — do your job.”
Women are leading the charge when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ rights and protections in Mexico.
The fight for the protection and equal rights for trans women in Mexico has been an uphill battle for many activist organizations. When it comes to finding jobs, employers have openly refused to hire transgender women which has resulted in many looking for sex work. In return, these limited opportunities have led to many of these women being on the streets where there are dangerous conditions.
The increase in violence against trans women in Mexico is a reflection of the overall dangerous situation in the country where homicide rates have reached record highs. Murders in Mexico have spiked in the first half of this year and at this current pace, it will most likely be the highest on record, according to official data.
Lina Pérez, president of the pro-LGBTQ organization Cuenta Conmigo, told the AP that the trans community is constantly left behind when it comes to receiving help because they are often shunned by police.
“It’s easier to grant impunity because the same people that oversee the law think that they’re sick, that there is something wrong with them,” Pérez said.
Cuevas said she will do whatever it takes to support LGBTQ+ rights and fight on behalf of the memory of her slain friend. This means having to deal with constant death threats if the Mexico government won’t take action.
“If I don’t do it, the government isn’t going to do it,” Cuevas said. “And if I wait for the government to do it, how many more people are going to be killed?”
The internet is filled with videos lately of people willing to let their racism show in full force. We’ve seen Permit Patty, Taco Truck Tammy, and, now, we have Walmart Wendy. The incident took place in April in Glendora, California and the internet is just now hearing about it. Here is what went down from what we can see in the video.
An unnamed woman decided that a Southern California Edison contract worker was just too suspicious for her to handle.
The video starts with the man recording and asking the woman what she had just said. She refuses to acknowledge him. Instead, Walmart Wendy is on the phone trying to talk to Glendora police and can be heard telling the 911 operator that she is standing in front of a man the looks illegal.
The altercation started, according to Walmart Wendy, because he asked her to move her car so he could park his work truck straight.
After he asked her to move her car, she unleashed. According to Walmart Wendy, the man recording her “punked” someone for the outfit so he would look legit but he belongs in Mexico.
“He came out of the bushes. He’s trying to take pictures of me,” she tells the police. She adds, “He’s taking a picture of me and the guy behind him might snap my neck.”
People were, somehow, surprised that his kind of hate and hate still exists in the U.S.
The woman spends the time flipping her middle finger at the man behind the camera and calling him illegal. The whole time, Walmart Wendy stays on the phone with the police asking for help.
Then, a man started to defend the worker from his car calling out Walmart Wendy’s racism.
The unidentified man addresses Walmart Wendy from his car telling her that he is working with the company actively working in the background. She responds calling him “creepy from Mexico” and that he is illegal. That is when the unidentified man from the car calls her racist.
“No it’s not racist,” Walmart Wendy yells. “My dad is black. My dad is black. I’m not racist. This guy’s from Mexico. They punk people and they don’t know everybody’s god damn illegal shit. Do you understand? My dad’s black. Don’t call me racist, asshole.”
Then she made one comment everyone is really interested in.
“I want to make sure this guy is legit. I don’t want him punking somebody,” she yelled. “he could be punking your f*cking job, taking your outfit, working to get paperwork.”
She adds: “Don’t call me racist because he’s Mexican. My little nephew is Italian, Mexican, and aloha. You stupid f*ck. Don’t tell me I’m racist.”
Like, people just want to know what it means to be aloha.
This was all after Walmart Wendy continued to say that she wants to make sure the worker is legit and to make sure he has a green card.
It might have happened months ago but the incoherent ramblings from Walmart Wendy continue to captivate people.
This is a trend that we have seen growing on social media. Cell phones have been utilized to catch people in the act of verbally assaulting people because of their skin color and language.
This kind of behavior has spread under President Trump as more and more people feel comfortable enough to act on their racism and prejudices.
The racist altercations in the U.S. are nothing new. However, technology and social media are making it easier and more accessible for people to finally see it. The cell phone camera and doxxing are exposing the racists who are showing themselves parroting the same rhetoric from President Trump.