Dear Friends,

As we all grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, w e know you’re worried about your families, your communities and the world – as are we. W e want to assure you that we remain steadfast in striving to make Orange County a safe place for everyone, and will continue to speak out, particularly as we see hate incidents towards are Asian American neighbors increase due to fears about COVID-19. See the recent statement from our agency and the statement from the OC Human Relations Commission.

We also continue to track hate crimes and incidents offering support to those affected. If you witness an act of hate, please report it on our website or by phoning 714-480-6570. If it is an emergency, please first call 911 or your local police department.

At this time we want to take this opportunity to update you on our plans for our community and team. Following the recommendations of the CDC, the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Officer to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, we have decided to close our office location until further notice. Our staff will, however, work remotely and we remain ready to assist however we can.

We are taking care of you, our students and our community
  • We have suspended all direct service work with our partner schools and school districts. We continue to be in communication and will follow our schools-based partners’ lead and direction should they resume school.
  • Our Walk In My Shoes Human Relations Youth Conference, which was to bring 500+ middle school students and teachers to UCI on March 11, 2020, was cancelled.
  • We have moved our Human Relations Ambassadors Program to a virtual platform and will close out the internship in this manner with students for this school year.
  • The April/May Divorce Mediation Training may be postponed. We will make a decision by April 1st and those who have registered will receive a 100% refund.
  • We are carefully monitoring the situation regarding all up-coming trainings, including Implicit Bias Training, scheduled for April 2, and examining the possibility of making some virtual. We will inform the community of our plans.
  • We will continue our work on #Census2020 outreach - working to ensure everyone is counted. However, outreach methods will change to avoid putting the community and our staff at risk.
  • Our kNOwHATE Toolkit Training, scheduled for March 19, has been postponed.
  • While we were looking forward to our only organization-wide event of the year, the OC Human Relations Awards, scheduled for May 7 - we are currently exploring alternatives to an in-person event to honor local heroes for their contributions to human relations. We will share updates in the near future.

We are taking care of our team
  • Our office is closed and our staff are now all working remotely. Because of our donors' generous support we are able to keep serving the people of Orange County without any putting any extra financial burden on our staff.
  • Our office and staff remain available by phone and email. See the list of numbers at the end of this message.
  • Our volunteer shifts have also been cancelled until further notice. We are grateful for their support and hope to have them back with us soon .
  • We are moving all meetings to remote access either via conference line, or an app such as Zoom until further notice.

Please take care of yourself and your family:
As we face this outbreak, we must remember that no amount of fear will excuse discrimination or hate. Instead, stick to the facts. According to the OC Health Care Agency, there is now laboratory evidence of community transmission in Orange County, indicating that COVID-19 is spreading in the community. The County Health Officer has issued an order prohibiting all public and private gatherings of any number of people. County health recommendations include:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We remain ready to be of assistance, please contact us at the following numbers:
  • Orange County Human Relations Commission: 714-480-6594
  • Conflict / Dispute Resolution Department: 714-480-6581
  • Community Building Department: 714-480-6594
  • Schools and Youth Programs Department: 714-480-6589
  • Development and Fundraising Department: 714-480-6582
  • Operations and/or Executive team members: 714-480-6576
  • To report a Hate Crime or Incident - 714-480-6570

And lastly, this pandemic is creating severe hardship for many in our community. If you have the financial ability, please keep supporting t he causes and non-profits that you always have, many are providing support to those who are most at risk right now. You may also consider looking at supporting vulnerable communities through Charitable Ventures' newly formed OC Community Resilience Fund.

We wish you all the best as we collectively navigate through these challenging and unprecedented times. We thank you for your support and patience.


Alison Edwards, CEO and Ken Inouye, Chair OC Human Relations Board