Alamo Asian Chamber of Commerce joins San Antonio city leaders in denouncing hate speech

Mayor Ron Nirenberg: ‘Hate crimes are on the rise’ since COVID-19 pandemic began

SAN ANTONIO – The Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce is standing behind city leaders calling for solidarity and also combating hate speech and violence towards ethnic groups.

Asian businesses in particular have reported more discriminatory incidents since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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In a resolution denouncing hatred and bigotry that was unanimously approved by city council Thursday, it is mentioned that Asian and Jewish Americans are being blamed for the coronavirus pandemic.

“Hate crimes are on the rise,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “We’ve seen incidents that are clearly racist in nature all around this country, and we’ve even seen some incidents here.”

Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce President, Genaline Escalante-Valdez, believes the inaccurate judgments stem from a lack of information or the spread of misinformation.

“This is a public health issue, not a racial one,” Escalante-Valdez said.

Furthermore Escalante-Valdez says the ugly rhetoric is being promoted.

"Perhaps the latest and biggest bigotry displayed in just the past couple of weeks was at a popular hamburger place in town whose marquee displayed, ‘Don’t buy Chinese, buy American,’” she said.

The owner of a longtime Chinese restaurant, who doesn’t want to be identified, reported that her brother is still healing from injuries suffered in a racially motivated attack against him and another employee.

Escalante-Valdez hopes to break the stigma fueling the hatred.

“We are your everyday workers and business owners of restaurants ... And even health care workers that have to sacrifice income,” Escalante-Valdez said.

The city’s resolution also encourages people to report violent acts of hate just like you would in any crime, by calling the police.

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