Leaders Denounce Hate, Urge Utahns To Support Asian, Pacific Islander Communities

Mar 23, 2021, 5:18 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After the murders of six Asian American women one week ago in Atlanta, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson denounced hate Tuesday and called on Utahns to support our Asian American community.

She asked everyone to take action that moves our community past words of reconciliation.

She was joined by several leaders in Utah’s Asian American community as she made a call to action to denounce hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“Today I stand in solidarity and as an ally to denounce hate, and I’m also here to ask that our community take action,” said Wilson.

“Our AAPI communities (Asian American Pacific Islander) are hurting,” said Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay. There is fear among Asians in Utah, she said.

“Let us take this horrific and unspeakable act of hate and discrimination, xenophobia, and look to becoming educated, working with our law enforcement as we stand in solidarity against hate,” Iwamoto said.

She urged people to speak out against prejudice and report hate crimes, rather than remaining silent out of fear.

“Words matter and have been attributed to a precipitous rise in anti-Asian violence. Actions matter. If we see hateful behavior, we cannot idly standby,” she said.

During the last year, there have been nearly 4,000 violent attacks against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S., and a growing number of those crimes in Utah.

Rep. Karen Kwan, D-Murray, is a descendent of a Chinese railroad worker. She does not even know his name, she said, because the railroad workers were not considered important enough to even record their names. Too often, she said, they have been marginalized.

“Our history as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is either racialized or invisible,” Kwan said. “We are either perpetual foreigners or the model minority.”

She and Iwamoto urged Utahns to support Asian American and Pacific Islander businesses, take bystander training to learn how to de-escalate conflict and get to know Asian Americans.

“We know how to reduce prejudice, and that’s to get to know one another,” Kwan said.

“It is about all of us coming together in opposition to those who would profess hate, speak hate, and act upon hate,” said Sim Gill, Salt Lake County district attorney.

Wilson said Salt Lake County will always embrace diversity because it makes us stronger.

“I challenge you to be an ally,” Wilson said. “Take the time to listen, to learn, and to denounce hate.”

On Wednesday, the Salt Lake County Council of Diversity Affairs will adopt an action plan that will guide the county’s work in eradicating systemic bias and institutional racism.

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Leaders Denounce Hate, Urge Utahns To Support Asian, Pacific Islander Communities