SACRAMENTO — Two days after a fatal shooting at a San Diego County synagogue, California officials pledged millions of dollars to protect religious congregations and other organizations targeted by hate crimes.
Surrounded by two dozen lawmakers, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that his revised budget proposal will include $15 million for grants to nonprofit groups to improve security at buildings — such as mosques, synagogues, churches and LGBT community centers — that are frequented by people at risk of being attacked because of who they are or what they believe.
The security grants, which are based on a federal program, have been made available for the past three years to California churches, schools and women’s health clinics to pay for reinforced entrances, alarms, guards and other safety improvements.
But Newsom said hundreds of applications have gone unfulfilled for lack of money. The state set aside only $500,000 for the program last year.
The California Legislative Jewish Caucus requested the funding increase this month, following an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead and a shooting last fall in which 11 people were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“I know it feels on some days like our world is unraveling, like every day we wake up and read about another act of hate-motivated violence. But we cannot accept this, we cannot accept this new normal,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat who is vice chair of the Jewish caucus.