On Tuesday, April 20, a resolution passed at the Sun Prairie City Council meeting supporting Sun Prairie’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and condemning acts of racism and discrimination.
The resolution is another step in honoring the city’s commitment to advancing equity, honoring diversity, and creating an inclusive culture.
This is not the first effort the city has made in demonstrating their support for the AAPI community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Last March, Mayor Paul Esser released a statement of solidarity affirming that the City of Sun Prairie stands with those who have been the target of acts of discrimination and harassment due to misinformation and racially charged rhetoric relating to COVID-19. The resolution addresses the significant increase in violence against the AAPI community stating:
WHEREAS, Asian American and Pacific Islanders have experienced a surge in racially motivated hate crimes involving physical violence and harassment due to a racist rhetoric of blame disseminated about the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, in the last year, nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate and acts of discrimination have been reported throughout the country by Stop AAPI Hate from March 2020 to February 2021;
The passing of this resolution occurred two days before the U.S. Senate passed a bill to combat against Asian American hate crimes, which have significantly increased within the past year.
If passed by the House and signed by President Biden, the legislation would form a new justice department position to specifically review hate crimes linked to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as offer support to state and local officials who respond to hate crimes.
“It is a priority for us to make sure we are doing our part to continue supporting our communities and asking how we can do better to make Sun Prairie a safe and equitable place for all,” said Aaron Oppenheimer, City Administrator.
Former District 3 aldermanic candidate Hugh Cha was also credited with assisting in the writing of the resolution.
Esser, Oppenheimer, and other staff members recently met with members of MACCO (Madison Area Chinese Community Organization) to share past and present diversity engagement and education initiatives specific to the AAPI community as well as to discuss new ideas to further improve relationships. Those conversations will continue as more programming around diversity is developed.