In aftermath of Georgia killings and increased anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian Resources conducts unity conference

ARI executive director and Elk Grove Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen. | 

With the reaction still fresh to the recent killing of eight people in Georgia, six of whom were Asian women, a broad array of groups and elected officials met this morning to express solidarity against the recent spate of violence directed at Asian-Americans. 

The unity conference was held at the Sacramento-based Asian Resources Inc. office on Elder Creek Road and drew a large assortment of elected officials, law enforcement, and community and faith-based groups.

Organized by ARI, leading off the speakers was their executive director, Stephanie Nguyen, who is also Vice Mayor of Elk Grove. Setting aside her role as an elected official, Nguyen referenced her upbringing as the child of Vietnamese refugees. 

"As a daughter of refugees, I was always taught to keep your head down, to not speak out, and to go with the flow," Nguyen said. "Today that ends, today I am pledging, and I am asking all of you to go back to your friends, your family to pledge to these three things - see something, do something, say something."

Other featured speakers included Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, California State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Gurrera, Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy, and California Assemblymembers Jim Cooper and Kevin McCarty. Cooper, who retired from the Sacramento Sherriff's Department before his 2014 election to the California Assembly, discussed hate crime legislation that he introduced, AB 266.

"AB266 will address the most serious forms of hate crimes like beating someone to the point they sustain great bodily injury or burning down a Synagogue of a place of worship," Cooper said. "But incredibly, if someone beat to the point of hospitalization because of their race or burn down a Synagogue, it is considered a non-violent crime in California."

In Steinberg's comments, he focused on the positive attributes of people in the Sacramento region.

"I am always most proud of Sacramento in these worst moments," he said. "Because we stand for, and with each other always."

Steinberg added the Georgia killings were "a crime of hate, a crime of racism, a crime of misogyny."

Among law enforcement officials speaking were Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn and Captain Ed Yee of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Hahn noted as a safety precaution, officers were contacting massage parlor operators and assured hate crimes are taken seriously by law enforcement.

"There is a reluctance to report these crimes, especially hate crimes due to many different reasons," Hahn said. "We really encourage people to call the police immediately if they suspect any hate or biased related incidents and let us, our officers, to look into it."

Portions of several speakers at today's event can be viewed in the video posted below. 

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