Guest Opinion - Elk Grove Hmong American's continue experiencing discrimination by Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen

By Marie Vue | Guest Contributor |

In May of 2022, the Elk Grove Unified School District passed a Resolution to Honor May 14th as Hmong American Day; however, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, denied approving the same resolution for the City of Elk Grove.

The Norms and Procedures state that all requests be submitted to the mayor, through the City Clerk’s Office, for consideration. Consistent with the history and the process of resolutions being approved, resolutions are approved automatically by the mayor’s office, and only in rare situations where the resolution is controversial, then it is brought before the city council.

While other ethnic resolutions came before her asking for month-long recognitions, they were passed without an issue; however, when her Hmong constituents proposed a proclamation in 2022 to honor May 14th as Hmong American Day, it was denied. Instead, Hmong Americans were lumped in with the larger Asian American and Pacific Islander community, citing a General AAPI Resolution to be proposed.

In contrary, while the Mayor of Elk Grove denied approving and adopting the proclamation to honor a community of people, in 2022, the Mayor of Elk Grove adopted two proclamations to honor the American Muslims in the month of August and adopted a proclamation in October to honor Hindu Heritage Month, both religions practiced by Asian ethnic groups.

The fact that other ethnic resolutions were approved without issue only adds insult to injury. The Hmong community has been singled out and discriminated against based on their ethnicity, which is a painful reminder of the discrimination and marginalization that they have faced in the past.

In March of 2023, the same proclamation went before Mayor Singh-Allen again, and the proclamation was shifted to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DE&I). Hmong constituents were informed that the process changed in December of 2021, but a copy of an Addendum to the Norms and Procedures which directs ethnic resolutions to the DE&I Committee, could not be provided. If this was true, why was the proposal in 2022 outright denied and not forwarded to the DE&I committee? 

While the Hmong community appreciates DE&I’s willingness to pick up the mayor’s slack, as an external entity that lacks commissioners on the committee that resembles or is from the Hmong community, and their failure to speak up when the Hmong community were victims of discrimination from Mayor Singh-Allen, it is not proper for DE&I to present this proclamation. DE&I lacks the understanding and appreciation of the Hmong community’s history and culture.

Mayor Singh-Allen’s systemic aggression towards the Hmong community and her Hmong constituents have been a contentious one due to her expressed desire to dismantle the Hmong culture and her discrimination against the Hmong community.

The fact that Elk Grove Unified School District has already approved this proclamation and Cosumnes Community Service District will be adopting and recognizing this proclamation only underscores the seriousness of the mayor’s actions.

Mayor Singh-Allen’s actions demonstrate a continued lack of authentic commitment to her Hmong constituents.

While the issue of Hmong American Day may seem small in isolation, it is part of a larger pattern of behavior that has caused tension between the mayor and the Hmong community. It is essential that leaders at all levels prioritize inclusivity and actively work towards creating a culture of mutual respect and understanding, and not through promises and bribery.

Mayor Singh-Allen’s repeated denial of the Hmong community's proposal for Hmong American Day has caused frustration and resentment among community members. The Hmong community is proud of their history and culture, and to have it overlooked and minimized by Singh-Allen is tragic.

It is a reminder that even in a city that prides itself on diversity and inclusion, discrimination and bias are still pervasive.

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