Wauwatosa passes resolution supporting Asian American community

The Wauwatosa Common Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

The resolution comes weeks after six Asian women were killed in a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas.

“To me, it’s a no-brainer. Of course we should,” said Wauwatosa Ald. Ernst Franzen. “It is an important and necessary thing for us to do.”

There has been an increase in violence and harassment against Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The increase has been documented by various Asian American groups across the country.

The Stop AAPI Hate group began tracking hate crimes against Asians on March 19, 2020 and recorded nearly 3,800 hate incidents – including harassment, avoidance, and physical assault – through February of this year, in all the countries.

A rally participant holds a sign at the Stand Up Against Anti-Asian Violence rally on March 18 at City Hall in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee County is home to 31,171 Asians, or 25.6% of Wisconsin’s Asian population, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

“Wauwatosa strongly opposes hatred, prejudice or violence based on race, nationality, gender, disability or religion, and we urge all residents to unite in solidarity with our American neighbors d ‘Asian and Pacific Islander descent,’ says Wauwatosa’s resolution, in part.

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride doesn’t think there have been any recent incidents of specific discrimination against Asian Americans in Wauwatosa. About 4% of Wauwatosa’s population is made up of Asian Americans, according to the most recent census data.

“The only negative thing here is that we need, not only in Wauwatosa, but across the country, to make statements like this,” McBride said at a government affairs committee meeting on March 30 that discussed the resolution.

McBride also released his own statement on violence against Asian Americans.

“We must all condemn violence against Asian Americans. None of this makes sense except through the twisted prism of racism. We must have zero tolerance for hatred against our fellow human beings,” McBride wrote .

The Wauwatosa School District also released a statement after the Atlanta shooting.

“To our students, staff and community members who identify as Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: We see you, we appreciate you, we are by your side,” the statement read.

Other municipalities in Wisconsin have issued similar resolutions, including the Dane County Council and the Eau Claire City Council.

The Wauwatosa resolution was designed by Ald. Matt Stippich, McBride and municipal lawyer Alan Kesner.

Kesner drew the draft from a similar resolution that was passed in Bellevue, Washington. The county executive also announced an investment of $ 5 million in grants to help community organizations that aim to end hate-based violence.

What the resolution says

WHEREAS, Wauwatosa is dedicated to honoring its diversity, including residents of the Island Community of America and Asia-Pacific (AAPI), a group who have contributed and continue to contribute to our country’s progress, culture , and success and

WHEREAS as of 2020, there has been a documented regional and national trend of increasing discrimination, hatred and violence against Asian Americans – from young adults to our most vulnerable seniors – exacerbated by false stories and xenophobia around the coronavirus; and

WHEREAS these reprehensible manifestations of hatred have often gone unnoticed and unreported, perpetuating a “model minority” myth that Asians will be complacent and silent, even though they are targeted and harmed; and

WHEREAS hatred, violence and prejudice are not accepted in our community, especially when they target or scapegoat individuals based on their race or identity; and

WHEREAS the Town of Wauwatosa remains committed to our vision not only to welcome the world and to recognize our diversity as a key strength of our character, but also to be a community in which everyone has a sense of belonging; and

WHEREAS, each of us has a personal responsibility to prevent the spread of disinformation, to condemn acts of violence in all its forms, to support all other members of the community and to reject stigma, hatred and prejudice in all their forms; and

WHEREAS it is urgent that each of us unite and come together to support the AAPI community and report incidents of hate and prejudice; and

WHEREAS over the coming months, the Town of Wauwatosa will redouble its efforts and opportunities to combat this virulent type of racism, intolerance and xenophobia, and to protect all members of our community from crime, in particular those based on the race or identity of our residents and visitors; and

WHEREAS recent crimes in Atlanta and other places against Asians were based as much on the gender of the victims as on their AAPI identity.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Town of Wauwatosa hereby proclaim our renewed and continued commitment to be a diverse and inclusive community free from racism, so that all who live, work and visit Wauwatosa feel welcome;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Wauwatosa strongly opposes hatred, prejudice or violence based on race, nationality, gender, disability or religion, and we urge all residents to unite in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors.

Evan Casey can be reached at 414-403-4391 or [email protected] Follow him on twitter @ecaseymedia.

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