Yorba Linda, California – On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at the Yorba Linda City Council Meeting, representatives from various Asian Pacific Islander and American Muslim organizations urged the Yorba Linda City Council to adopt a resolution and to take leadership in condemning hate speech and promoting a healthy, diverse and inclusive neighborhood for all city residents. This action was prompted by a series of rallies held in Yorba Linda last February, in which Orange County residents verbally berated American Muslim community members attending a fundraiser for women’s shelters.
Bringing out over 30 concerned community members, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR), the Council on American and Islamic Relations(CAIR) and the Asian Pacific Islanders Community Action Network (APIsCAN) each provided public comment condemning the rally and urging action by the City Council.
The rally, organized by Yorba Linda city residents, was in objection to two speakers scheduled to present at the fundraiser. Originally intended as a peaceful protest, the presence of several strongly voiced protestors, supported by elected officials like City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly, Congressman Gary Miller, and Congressman Ed Royce, created an anti-Muslim sentiment targeted at the entire American Muslim community. “We understand that the original intent of the rally was peaceful and targeted at individuals. However, the prejudicial undertone that the evolved during the rally changed it into what JACL considers to be a hate incident,” said Kristin Fukushima, Public Policy Coordinator for the JACL Pacific Southwest District.
Craig Ishii, JACL Regional Director and Kathy Masaoka, Co-Chair of NCRR issued the following joint statement, “As stewards of the Japanese American community the JACL and NCRR stand in solidarity with our American Muslim brothers and sisters after this unfortunate incident of hate in Yorba Linda. Together, our mission is based on the history and experience of the Japanese American community, including our experience with the incarceration during World War II. With the commitment of ensuring that incarceration never happens again, our organizations advocate for the civil rights of all communities facing prejudice and discrimination. We urge the Yorba Linda City Council to issue a resolution condemning hate speech and promoting a safe, inclusive neighborhood for all its residents”
The JACL, NCRR, CAIR and APIsCAN will continue to monitor actions taken by the Yorba Linda City Council in the following months. For more information contact Craig Ishii, JACL Regional Director at 213-626-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.