Legislation Proposed by Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to support a package of state legislative bills that seek to prevent the deep, pervasive culture of street harassment that vulnerable communities face daily throughout California. 

Three separate bills, sponsored by Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Stop AAPI Hate coalition and supported by over 81 organizational partners including the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, will help shape a state where everyone can walk to the park, take public transit, shop, and live their lives free from harassment:

  • AB 2549 (Bonta, Muratsuchi, Weber): Ending Street Harassment declares street harassment as a public health problem, setting in motion research and public education needed to design preventative solutions.
  • SB 1161 (Min): Increasing Safety for Public Transit Riders calls on transit agencies to gather data and design solutions to protect riders and address harassment that happens on public transit, and, by doing so, increase ridership. 
  • AB 2448 (Ting): Expanding Civil Rights Protections at Businesses focuses on large businesses to do more to protect customers from harassment by other customers through training, signage, reporting, and a pilot program that recognizes exceptional businesses. 

“We need to take big steps to stop AAPI hate and the targeting of seniors and women in public transit and places of business. This state legislation to mandate training and educate the public about the harassment of Asians, seniors, and women will present a multi-pronged approach to prevent hate incidents,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar who brought the resolution to the Board of Supervisors this month. “I am proud to get San Francisco to endorse this legislation and support it every step of the way as it moves through the state legislature.”

While Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have experienced an increase of hate incidents since the COVID-19 pandemic, street harassment is not just an AAPI issue. Black women and women of color, people with disabilities, the LGBQ & TGI communities, youth and seniors, and other persons of color experience street harassment and threats; in the worst situations, street harassment incidents can escalate into violence. Steeped in racism, sexism, and other harmful biases, those who are targets of harassment carry the burden of protecting themselves because there has not been a systematic approach to the problem. 

Stop AAPI Hate’s “No Place for Hate” legislative package declares harassment in public spaces a public health problem that warrants a public health and civil rights solution. Current California laws are not equipped to prevent and address forms of harassment in public spaces. Examples of street harassment includes whistling, leering, lewd gestures, racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic comments, questions, and demands, and being followed. 

“Street harassment is a pervasive issue that causes harm not just to individuals but to our society as a whole,” says Cynthia Choi, co-Executive Director of CAA and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate. “People who have experienced street harassment may limit their freedom of movement, which can then impact their economic opportunities and further ripples out on their families and communities. We all win when women and vulnerable community members feel safe and have freedom and respect in our shared spaces.”

The bills that make up the “No Place for Hate” campaign were designed and are supported by a multiracial campaign calling for an end to street harassment, so that all Californians can inhabit shared spaces with freedom, respect, and safety.