Sheriff, mayor, public health director comment on attacks on Asian Americans
Santa Barbara County leaders have condemned the recent violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The attacks include the March 16 murders of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at three Atlanta area spas.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested for the murders of Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; and Paul Andre Michels, 54.
After the murders, local officials commented on the violence.
“All the men and women of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office denounce hatred, violence and racism of any kind,” Sheriff Bill Brown said in a statement.
“While we are pleased that we have had no hate crimes against Asian or Pacific Islander victims reported in the communities we police since at least the beginning of 2000, we want to ensure these types of crimes are reported to us if they occur,” Sheriff Brown said. “All such reports are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.
“We will relentlessly pursue and apprehend the perpetrators of crimes committed against members of our Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, or any other group of people within our county that is targeted due to their race, ancestry, religion, age, gender, disability or sexual orientation,” Sheriff Brown said. “We stand strong in Santa Barbara County because we stand together.”
Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura, whose grandparents were Japanese, talked to the News-Press Monday about the violence.
“I’m surprised there was an outlash like this one,” Mayor Nomura said. “I have yet to figure out the cause.”
He said he believes likely factors include distrust of China, which has become a financial center and is the nation where the COVID-19 virus originated.
“But it’s not just Asian Americans,” Mayor Nomura said about prejudice and violence. “All minorities and ethnic groups are facing the same thing.”
Mayor Nomura said he sees education as the key to preventing the discrimination that blacks, Hispanics and Asian Americans face. He said society can be taught about the contributions made by minorities.
“Without putting that (education) in place, people will look at them (minorities) as outsiders, not realizing contributions by ethnic groups to our way of life,” he said.
The recent violence against Asian Americans was condemned by Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the Santa Barbara County public health director.
“As public health director and as an Asian American woman, I’m devastated by the senseless loss of lives,” Dr. Do-Reynoso recently told reporters. “This killing spree and other attacks on members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community threatens the health and safety of all members of our community. Collectively, we must recognize that racism, individual, institutional and systemic, is truly a public health crisis.”
The Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association also issued a statement condemning the violence.
“We witnessed a horrific targeted shooting in which eight people, six of whom were Asian American women, were murdered,” the association noted. “We are heartbroken by this event, and we vehemently condemn the hate crimes, violence and murder being perpetrated against the Asian American Pacific Islander community in the United States.”
Pacifica Graduate Institute has campuses in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.