The APICAT Steering Committee met with Mayor Kitty Piercy, Chief of Police Pete Kerns, and City Manager Jon Ruiz early Tuesday afternoon to discuss short term and long term solutions to address the recent string of vandalism of Asian-owned businesses. Also present was Rachel Hsieh, representing her mother, Phung Hsieh, the owner of Yi-Shen Market & Restaurant. While media was not invited to the meeting, a couple of news reporters from KVAL and KEZI were present but were asked not to film during the meeting in order to foster an open and honest dialogue.
The meeting began with Rachel telling her family’s history and that of their store. She then described the impact that the repeated vandalism had on her family. This set the tone for a positive conversation for a constructive conversation focusing on City and API community partnerships. Jason Mak, a member of the Steering Committee of APICAT facilitated the hour-long conversation. Some of the things discussed were:
- Continued EPD patrol of affected businesses (Not assuming that the threat was over or the right person was caught)
- Resources to support targeted business owners, with possibility of city neighborhood grants
- Setting up an API Business Neighborhood Watch
- EPD Crime Prevention Specialists to evaluate safety and security of businesses
- Request for a primary contact for community policing/liason at EPD
- Resources to provide better Asian language services at the City
- Number of API police officers
- Human Rights Commission (HRC) partnership
- Possibility of an API Chamber of Commerce
- Enhanced relations with City Manager’s office
- APICAT’s role in assisting the City connect with the API communities
- Metro area leaders signing on to a statement of support for the API community and standing against hate
- Education efforts to Asian businesses about what to expect regarding EPD response to property crime
The meeting ended with the City agreeing to write a statement of support for APICAT’s mission.