In response to reports of bias against Arab Americans and Muslims after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., the California Endowment has awarded more than $2.4 million to organizations working to eliminate racial, cultural, and religious bias and intolerance in its home state.
The Endowment's 9/11 Special Opportunities Fund was created to address the problem of hate-motivated bias based on ethnicity, race, culture, and religion in California. The sixteen nonprofits that received grants operate programs designed to deepen understanding and increase dialogue between various religious and ethnic groups in an effort to promote activities that explore the underlying issues that lead to intolerance.
"Racial intolerance and hate crimes can detract from individual, family, and community health and well-being," said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of the Endowment. "As the most diverse state in the nation, it is important for Californians to continue to value the talents, cultures, and assets of our population, and to promote dialogue and education as ways to increase racial, cultural, and religious understanding."
The largest award was a two-year, $377,595 grant to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in San Diego in support of its efforts to promote tolerance and eliminate racial, religious, and cultural bias among San Diego County high school youth.
Other recipients include the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance, which will receive $350,000 over two years for its hate crime reduction programs for Los Angeles youth and September 11-related programs and seminars, and the California Council of Churches, which will receive $300,000 over two years to help congregations in the state acquire greater knowledge and understanding of diverse faith traditions.