Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) and Stop AAPI Hate announced the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1161 off of the Senate Floor. The legislation is now in the Assembly for consideration. The bill mandates the 10 largest transit agencies in the state to gather data and design solutions to address the root causes of street harassment on public transit.
“The level of harassment, intimidation, and violence that Californians experience while riding public transit is unacceptable,” said Senator Dave Min. “Our public transit systems can and must do better to ensure that their riders feel safe and free from unwanted confrontations based on their race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This bill takes a huge step towards that goal, by pushing for data-driven solutions that will restore confidence and boost ridership in California public transit. I am proud to work in partnership with Stop AAPI Hate to advance this legislation.”
Co-sponsored by the Stop AAPI Hate coalition, SB 1161 was introduced in response to an analysis of almost 11,000 hate incidents reported in the past two years. It found that of these incidents, almost two-thirds were verbal harassment and about three-quarters occurred in publicly accessible spaces — on the street, public transit, and in businesses.
Women, especially women of color, as well as LGBTQ+ people are common targets of street harassment while waiting at a transit stop and riding buses, trains, and other forms of public transit. Subjected to unwanted sexualized and racialized comments and slurs, whistling, leering, and other intimidating actions, riders bear the responsibility and the burden of keeping themselves safe.
“We all deserve to feel safe and move about freely without becoming targets of hate and harassment,” said Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and Co-Founder of Stop AAPI Hate. “We are hopeful that the No Place for Hate policy agenda will become a reality making California the first in the nation to declare street harassment as a public health issue. With the passage of SB 1161 on the Senate floor, people who rely on public transit for their livelihoods — to travel to and from school and work, and to care for their families — will feel safer in these spaces and help rejuvenate our public transit system.”