Eau Claire City Council passes resolution in support of Asian Americans

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all of us.

Asian Americans, though, have had to deal with an additional crisis, an increase in violence and hate speech based on their ethnic background.

Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council passed a resolution condemning all forms of violence and hate against Asian Americans.

“I don’t feel safe going out by myself anymore, I bring my husband with me all the time,” said one community member.

At Monday’s meeting, several people from the city’s Hmong population spoke out about being scared.

“Members of the Asian American community are being verbally attacked while trying to enjoy a walk in the park. Being told to go back to where you came from.”

“If you have not heard of any of these incidents happening in Eau Claire, it’s because nobody feels safe enough to speak up after the fact.”

The words also ring true for Eau Claire City Council Member Mai Xiong.

“I can’t help but to have to keep my guards up, making sure especially if I have young kids that I’m always alert,” she says. “If I am running I do not have my music blast out loud anymore. I am always making sure I am more aware of my surroundings.”

Now, Xiong is working to erase those fears.

Tuesday, she joined her fellow council members to pass a resolution condemning violence and hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

“It’s really important that our statements, our resolutions, do not stand as just a statement only, that we take actions behind it,” Xiong says.

She says she is more worried about how the older population is being treated.

“I think I’m least concerned for myself and more concerned about my elders, the individuals who speak very little english, who can’t communicate, who can’t articulate.”

Eau Claire City Council Member Andrew Werthmann says he hopes the resolution is a step towards helping heal the community.

“Try to remind people that we are all community members together,” he says. “We all are Americans together and that each of us is as rightful to be in this country and to be calling Eau Claire home as everyone else.”

Xiong hopes the resolution will force people to take time and confront the hate.

“it’s a tough conversion and I encourage everyone to continue to have these tough conversations.”

She says while hateful incidents have been amplified in the last year stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been going on in our community for years.

Xiong hopes to work with local organizations in the coming months to help build a community that is inclusive towards everyone.

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