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    Oakland Honors Asian Pacific Islanders While Committing to Fight Against Anti-Asian Racism

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    On May 12, the Oakland City Council had the honor of unanimously passing an important resolution: Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Hate Crimes, and Honoring Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

    It was a piece of legislation that reflects the values of the City of Oakland. The resolution did three things. First, the legislation, sponsored by Oakland City Council Members Sheng Thao and Nikki Fortunato Bas, supports the Federal House Resolution 908 that condemns all forms of anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19. Second, it reaffirms Oakland’s protection of Asian-Pacific communities. Third, the resolution recognizes May as Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the City of Oakland.

    There is never an appropriate time for discrimination and racial violence. It seems especially ill-timed during a pandemic, yet this is what many Asian-Pacific communities are facing.

    Since the December 2019 outbreak of COVID-19, millions around the world have contracted the virus, with over 1,000,000 cases in the United States alone. As communities across the nation fight to find solutions to complex problems, President Trump and other high-ranking national officials like the Secretary of State have insisted on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus,” which perpetuates the tide of racial discrimination and hate crimes against the Asian-Pacific community. Congress saw the problem and the House of Representatives took a stand against fear, racism, and hate in House Resolution 908. 

    Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Approximately 16% of the Oakland population is a part of our robust Asian-Pacific community. Every Oaklander has the right to feel safe in our city. As we strive to ensure safety and well-being for all, the Oakland City Council spoke as one to say we are committed to combating hate crimes and misinformation targeting Asian-Pacific Americans and the Asian-Pacific community as a whole.

    Oakland has been blessed to have many Asian-Pacific Americans who made, and continue to make, significant contributions to every aspect of life in the City of Oakland. This is the perfect time to officially designate May as Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and to show that racism and hate won’t be tolerated in Oakland.

    Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( https://twitter.com/Kaplan4Oakland ) and Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/Kaplan4Oakland/ ).

    Published on May 20, 2020