A hate crime protest was organized by the OC Justice Initiative, along with several California state activist organizations in Fullerton at historic Old Town Orange Circle in downtown Orange on March 18 .
The initiative rallied OC supporters to help the day’s events under a unifying message to stop the hate in Orange County.
In a show of solidarity with the initiative, Black, Indigenous and People of Color student organizations, activists and speakers attended the protest to raise awareness of racial injustice in Orange County. Among the various groups at the protest were members of the CSUF Black Student Union, CSUF College Democrats, as well as Students for Quality Education.
The initiative is a social justice organization founded in 2020, whose primary goals are to address racial injustices in Orange County, address economic and legislative injustices, and protect basic human rights.
“We want to be treated like human beings,” said Fiona Meehan, a Southern Orange County resident and activist. “It’s not too much to ask. I’m just done being crippled. I’m done with microaggressions. I don’t want to hear white people say the N-word anymore. I don’t want to be harassed.”
The protest began at Chapman University’s Williams Mall Park, where protesters waved signs, cheered and listened to speeches by members of the initiative.
“It’s about the increase in hate crimes in Orange County and on the Chapman campus. We’ve seen a 76% increase since 2020,” said Seth Moos, event coordinator for the ‘initiative. “So we want to show unity against hate crimes.”
Meehan arrived with a sign calling for justice on behalf of Kurt Reinhold, a black man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in San Clemente in 2020.
At around 1 p.m., the crowd of protesters took the road adjacent to Williams Mall Park and proceeded down Glassell Street as passers-by watched until they reached Plaza Park.
In front of a crowd of onlookers who began to gather near Plaza Park, representatives from each organization took turns rallying other protesters with songs calling for social justice and giving speeches recalling situations in which they had suffered the effects of racism in their lives.
Activists also detailed specific race-related incidents to the crowd, such as the recent high school basketball game controversy that occurred in late January at Laguna Hills High School, where a Laguna Hills student shouted racial slurs at a black player on the Portola High School basketball court. team.
The petition to “defeat racism in OC school sports” promoted by the initiative’s president, Judge Crudup, and the initiative calls for the creation of committees to “create guidelines on what constitutes hate and microaggression affecting them and proposing rule updates” as well as “requiring all coaches and referees to complete mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training,” among other goals.
“What we can do about it is educate, demonstrate and eventually legislate,” Crudup said. “We currently have a petition on our Instagram that basically asks for a diversity, equity and inclusion team to be involved in OC sports since there has been a lot of bias and hate. in OC Sports for the past two months.”