Asian Americans speak out about two recent hate crimes

Alameda County New Year Card

Asian American groups are rallying to bring attention to two racist incidents that surfaced in Northern California.

A coalition of groups is demanding a full investigation into a lunar New Year card from Alameda County Firefighters which featured photos of three non-Asian firefighters wearing conical rice paddy hats.

“That is shocking to the community,” spokesman Carl Chan said to CBS5.

“It also hurts the reputation of many firefighters who are saving lives every day,” Chen said.

Serena Chen, a board member with the Asian Pacific American Caucus of Alameda County told AsAmNews, the card was produced in-house by a group of firefighters at Station #22 in San Lorenzo California located south of Oakland, according to the fire chief.  It was printed and sent to other fire stations.  Apparently at least one of the recipients did not see the humor in the card and copies were sent to local media who contacted Carl Chan, a well-known leader in Oakland Chinatown, for comment. 

“It is inconsistent with our values and the respect we demand our employees demonstrate toward the communities we serve,” fire chief David Rocha said in a statement. “The matter is under investigation as a personnel matter; as such, we have no further comment.”

Further East in Vacaville, California, Asian American leaders are condemning an anonymous racist letter left in the mailbox of an interracial family. The husband is Chinese. The mother is Hispanic.

“It is the belief of the APAPA (Asian Pacific American Public Affairs) and the CAASC (Chinese American Association of Solano County) that each person is equal and able to live their life as they so choose,” said a CAASC/APAPA official. “Our country is defined by freedom and shared values; we are a diverse, welcoming, and family-driven community that welcomes compassion and understanding.

The letter said the family was not welcomed in the neighborhood and gave them sixty days to move out.

“We’ve planted our roots here. We’re not going anywhere,” declared Marc Yu who discovered the letter in his mailbox.

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