Lena Hernandez, pictured above, faces charges in an anti-Asian tirade caught on video
Torrance’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution against xenophobia more than a month after two viral videos surfaced of a woman’s anti-Asian rant in Torrance’s own Wilson Park, Daily Breeze reports.
The resolution made a point to recognize the increase in xenophobic acts since the coronavirus outbreak and acknowledged that Torrance’s population is 37% Asian, according to Daily Breeze. Torrance is also home to the largest population of Japanese Americans in the country.
Kathy Masaoka, co-chair of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, said the resolution is a “good first step that will require time and energy to bring all people together in Torrance to help solve racial issues in a healing and constructive manner,” Daily Breeze reports.
But Southern California Asian American groups are pushing for more, according to Los Angeles Daily News.
The groups are calling for heavier charges against Lena Hernandez, the woman who verbally abused an Asian American family and woman respectively. Hernandez was arrested on unrelated charges.
Hate speech isn’t a crime, Torrance Mayor Pat Furey said, according to Los Angeles Daily News.
“I also must remind folks that the First Amendment protects the speech rights of people — even hateful and vile words,” Furey continued.
Activists are also advocating for “an independent police commission with the power to make policy recommendations to the City Council,” Masaru Kent Kawai, president of the South Bay Japanese American Citizens League said, Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Daily Breeze noted that Torrance’s City Council did address the demands for such a commission during its July 22 meeting.
“Creating a police commission would be an important step to move forward,” Kawai added.
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