If you don’t study it, you can’t fix it.
That’s the premise behind proposed legislation authored by an Orange County state senator that would direct the top 10 transportation agencies in California to survey users of public transportation about safety, sexual harassment, and racial and gender-based discrimination.
Senate Bill 434, introduced on Monday, Feb. 13 by state Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, would order transit agencies to find out what kind of harassment, threats or assaults riders experience or fear — and where. A key focus would be on women of color including Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Who is targeted?” Min asked. “When and where, and in what areas? Are there certain (train or bus) lines where this happens? The ‘why,’ you may start inferring, but we think women and girls get targeted more.”
A report by Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit group, looked at 11,500 hate incidents reported during 2021 and 2022, and found that 67% of anti-AAPI hate incidents involved harassment such as verbal or written hate speech or inappropriate gestures.
“When we see these problems occurring, with all women, including AAPI, people of color and the LGBTQ communities, it is a public health issue,” said Candice Cho, managing director of policy and counsel at AAPI Equity Alliance based in Los Angeles. “Because it changes our behavior. It causes anxiety and trauma.”