After repeated incidents in Sacramento and across the nation, the Sacramento City Council and Mayor Darrell Steinberg unanimously approved a proposed resolution to condemn and combat anti-Asian hate, racism and violence.

Sacramento Chief Daniel Hahn asked residents to be aware of anything that resembles a hate crime after the country has experienced an uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans and in the Pacific Islander community. (OBSERVER photo by Antonio Harvey)

The city’s resolution, drafted by Councilmember Mai Vang, garnered vocal support from a diverse coalition of elected officials, community leaders, faith leaders, business owners and individuals of all backgrounds.

After eight people, including six Asians, were killed in Atlanta last week, Sacramento’s Black community doubled down on the city’s efforts, opposing and rooting out anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in every aspect.

United in front of the Buddist Church of Sacramento, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, Rashid Sidqe from the Law Enforcement Accountability Directive, Azizza Davis Goines of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sacramento Urban League President Cassandra Jennings, and Unity of Sacramento pastor Kevin K. Ross joined Elk Grove City Council member Stephanie Nguyen in standing up against racism.

“We need all communities to come together and fight this with us because we can’t do this alone,” said Nguyen, who is Vietnamese and the executive director for Asian Resources Inc.

In addition, attorney and KDEE-FM 97.5 radio host Mark Harris, former educator Richard Owen, Sacramento 100 Black Men Chapter President Richard Cornelius, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Capitol City Black Nurses Association Secretary Aron King, and community activist Ron King also were participants who stood with Ms. Nguyen.

Aron King and Ron King, who are unrelated, both are married to Asian women and have biracial children. The Black men were visibly disturbed about the aggressive attacks against people who look like their kids. 

“This situation going on in the world today is so deep and personal to me on so many levels,” Ron King said. “Being raised in the Deep South (Alabama) I understand racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But also being in an interracial relationship, I have to hear the pain and stories my wife had to deal with just because of the color of her skin. We have to come together in unity to defeat this hate.” 

Of Sacramento’s 515,000 residents, Asian American and Pacific Islanders make up 20% of the population. The city also is home to more than 6,000 AAPI businesses.

Anti-Asian hate crime in 16 of America’s largest cities increased 149% in 2020 according to an analysis of official preliminary police data by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, with the first spike occurring in March and April amid a rise in COVID cases. The Sacramento Police Department said nearly 70 hate- or bias-related incidents were reported last year, an increase from the prior year.

Those cases comprised 17 incidents against African Americans, 12 against LGBTQ people, nine directed at multiracial individuals, and eight incidents against the AAPI community.

“This is what it’s going to take to fight against this sort of hate,” Chief Hahn said of other communities supporting potential victims of hate crimes. “So this is up to all of us. If you think that something might be going down please report it to the police. We can collectively stop the hate and bias in our communities.”