The California Victim Compensation Board began airing radio and TV ads in English and Spanish this week in an effort to reach survivors of forced sterilization at state hospitals and prisons and encourage them to apply for compensation.
The ads are the latest part of a wide-ranging outreach campaign that has included sending posters and fact sheets to 1,000 skilled nursing facilities, 500 libraries and all state prisons. In addition, CalVCB launched a social media advertising campaign in October and distributed more than 900 posters to the state’s 35 correctional institutions to post in common areas and housing units.
CalVCB administers the Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program, which began on Jan. 1, 2022, and concludes on Dec. 31, 2023.
The program is aimed at compensating survivors of eugenics laws that allowed state hospitals and other state-run facilities to perform medical procedures on people while in their care that prevented them from physically being able to have children. The program also compensates state prisoners who underwent a sterilization procedure without their consent while in custody after 1979, when eugenics laws were repealed.
“With these ads, we hope to reach a broader audience and connect more survivors of forced sterilization with the compensation they deserve,” CalVCB Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill said. “We encourage all those who were involuntarily sterilized to reach out and apply for compensation, and to spread the word to others, who may have been impacted so they can do the same.”
CalVCB contracted with the firm JP Marketing of Fresno to develop an advertising and outreach campaign for the program. Radio ads in English and Spanish began airing this week in the Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas, and television ads in English are being aired in Los Angeles. Spanish TV ads are in production and will begin airing in coming weeks.
When the legislation establishing the program was introduced, experts estimated that approximately 600 survivors of state-sponsored sterilization were still living.
Under the program, $4.5 million is to be split among all eligible survivors who apply. They receive $15,000 immediately and then a second check in 2024, when the remaining funds are divided evenly among all approved claimants.
In addition to the compensation amount, the legislature provided $2 million for program administration and outreach and $1 million to establish markers or plaques at designated sites acknowledging the victims of state-sponsored sterilization.
CalVCB has posted a social media toolkit on its website to help others promote the program and has distributed additional materials to other state agencies, advocacy groups and other organizations that may have contact with survivors.
For more information, call (800) 777-9229 or visit victims.ca.gov/fiscp.