Following a slew of anti-Asian hate incidents, city councils throughout Orange County have been wrestling with the issue of race over the past month.
While some cities are taking concrete steps to publicly address and report hate crimes, others have chosen to pass resolutions denouncing racism without any real actions.
On Tuesday, Irvine will discuss a resolution requiring the city’s police department post a monthly hate crimes update to their website. They’ll also have to come up with new guidelines on handling “race based hate crimes and incidents,” to submit to the council within two months.
Irvine also recently launched an online multi-language hate crime and incident reporting portal.
Anaheim City Council members are slated to discuss their own resolution Tuesday, which “strongly condemns and denounces anti-Asian Pacific Islander sentiment in any form,” but does not have any action items on the issue.
Buena Park City Council members will also consider a similar resolution as part of a study session after the council rejected the original draft last month.
The new draft removes all mentions of systemic racism and of the US government’s involvement in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Council members Art Brown and Beth Swift said at a previous meeting that the Exclusion Act wasn’t relevant in present times.
The new resolution also rewrote the main portion of the resolution, applying the effort to all ethnicities and not just the Asian American community.
“The City Council of the city of Buena Park does hereby condemn and will combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and will work jointly with members of the AAPI community to develop tangible, community-led solutions that acknowledge the experiences of AAPI residents, root out systemic racism, and uplift racial solidarity.”
Tuesday’s Revised Draft:
“The City Council of the city of Buena Park does hereby condemn and denounce the hateful messages and attacks against people of all ethnicities, races, national origins and backgrounds and will combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance that have occurred recently. The City Council of the City of Buena Park will work with leaders and members of the community to encourage and support efforts to develop community-based solutions to uplift racial solidarity.”
Seal Beach City Council members will also consider a similar resolution Monday, calling on law enforcement to address hate crimes, but not mentioning any concrete measures.
Last month, an Asian American widow who lives in Seal Beach’s Leisure World retirement community received a letter telling her to “pack your bags and go back to your country where you belong” after her husband recently died.
People then rallied in support of the widow at the retirement home.
These types of rallies and vigils have been happening in recent weeks throughout Orange County.
Nailing it For America, an all-volunteer nail salon advocacy group, has held more than seven similar events in the past few weeks.
“We’re beyond words at this point,” said Tam Nguyen, one of the co-founders of the group, about the resolutions “Show the community by your actions what you’re going to do.”
On Friday, the group had a plane fly over the sky to have the words “No Hate” emblazoned across the sky — they had to postpone a couple of times due to weather conditions.
The group will also hold a benefit concert April 24. The proceeds will go through a designated fund administered by the Orange County United Way group and be given to community organizations to provide support like in-language services or food to vulnerable communities.
Kien Nguyen, a 76-year-old grandmother, sponsored the message and has experienced first hand racist rhetoric spewed towards her while exercising in the park.
The sky message was written above Huntington Beach and each letter was one mile long.
The city was chosen after reports of Ku Klux Klan flyers being left at homes in the downtown area on Easter, which led to the council’s condemnation of racism earlier this week.
Newport Beach also received similar reports a couple of weeks ago.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @NBiesiada.