Rob Bonta, California’s new attorney general, is known as a leading advocate for criminal justice reform.
From defending the state’s gun control laws to investigating fatal police shootings to eliminating cash bail and reducing incarceration, his work is cut out for him in that realm.
As the first Filipino American to hold the office, Bonta has another top priority — fighting anti-Asian racism at a time when hate attacks are rising up and down the state and across the nation. He plans to create a racial justice bureau to combat white supremacy and biased policing as well as to explore reparations for slavery.
In his office, he keeps a photo of a sign hung in a Stockton hotel lobby in 1920: “Positively no Filipinos allowed.”
Born in the Philippines, Bonta, 48, immigrated to the United States when he was 2 months old. As a child in the Sacramento area, he said, he was called racist names and never felt like he belonged.
His parents, Warren and Cynthia Bonta, shared stories about their activism over steaming bowls of sinigang, a Filipino stew. His father, who is white, marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala. His mother helped organize Filipino and Mexican American laborers for the United Farm Workers.
Bonta attended college at Yale, where he captained the soccer team, and he also earned his law degree there.
Before his election to the state Assembly, Bonta was a deputy city attorney for San Francisco and worked as a private attorney handling cases involving racial profiling and other mistreatment.
Bonta, a Democrat, was elected to the California Assembly in 2012 as its first Filipino American member.
His April confirmation to the state’s highest law enforcement office came after Asian American leaders called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to choose someone who would prioritize fighting anti-Asian attacks.
Read the complete article at: Los Angeles Times