By Tommy Hough
In one of my first acts as a San Diego County Planning Commissioner, I sent a letter to the San Diego Human Relations Commission on March 8, 2021, to request that the commission undertake a series of neighborhood hearings to address the current wave of anti-Asian prejudice, hate, and random violence that has generated a great deal of concern and conversation among my neighbors. I'm pleased to announce I'll be testifying before the commission about the matter I described in my letter in a few hours.
While much of the current iteration of anti-Asian prejudice was enabled, and then unleashed, by President Trump in his outrageous remarks and statements about the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, and since leaving office, anti-Asian sentiment in American culture isn't new or unique to the pandemic. However, we are seeing a particularly ugly, racist, and violent reaction in this current iteration, and one way for the city to demonstrate leadership, increase vigilance, and encourage neighbors to come forward who may have been reluctant to do so is by holding the forums I've proposed. I'll discuss this more in my remarks to the commission.
As I wrote last month and later described in a CBS 8 story on the crisis, I've asked that the city make law enforcement, fire personnel, and other public safety and first responder services part of the dialogue as well to discuss the potential for linguistic or cultural misunderstandings that may arise, and which could discourage some of our elderly AAPI neighbors from reporting a hate or intimidation-related incident.
Please join the Human Relations Commission meeting today at 5:30 p.m., and join me tomorrow (Thursday) at 7 p.m. via Zoom at the San Diego chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America as I moderate their "Hate Crimes Are the Scariest Thing In the World" panel discussion with San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo, Geneviéve Jones-Wright, and JoAnn Fields.
A San Diego County planning commissioner and former radio host at 91X and FM 94/9, Tommy Hough works as an environmental consultant with the ReWild Mission Bay campaign, and is a California Democratic Party delegate and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.