City leaders voice support for Asian-American communities amid rise in reported hate crimes nationwide

City of Lynnwood Human Resources Director Evan Chinn speaking in support of Asian-American community members. (Image via Youtube)

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a wave of anti-Asian hate-related crimes is being reported across the nation, prompting Lynnwood city leaders to voice support for the city’s diverse community.

In a video posted online Thursday, members of the Lynnwood Police Department, the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission, and other city employees condemned all acts of hate and violence.

“We reaffirm our commitment to becoming a safe, and welcoming city,” said Human Resources Director Evan Chinn. “We have been and will continue to implement anti-racism in the work we do, and the services we provide, to ensure all citizens in our community feel supported, welcome and can thrive.”

According to Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks hate crimes reported against Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, more than 2,800 reports of harassment and assaults have been reported across the U.S. since the start of the pandemic last year. In Lynnwood, Asian-Americans make up 17% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

So far, no reports of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans have been reported in Lynnwood, said police spokesperson Joanna Small. However, Lynnwood Police Chief Jim Nelson said the department remains committed to protecting the community and encouraged victims of hate-related incidents to report them.

“We are committed to standing together with the people of Lynnwood in opposing hate, violence and acts of intolerance committed against our community members,” he said.

In recent years, city leaders have worked to diversify when hiring employees. Under former Police Chief Tom Davis — Nelson’s predecessor — 38% of the department’s employees hired in the last four years have been people of color. Currently, Small said eight officers, one police cadet and one civilian employee identify as Asian-American or Pacific Islander.

The city and its partners have worked to highlight the diversity in the city. In 2019, local Eagle Scout Jim Osbourn installed Nine, 7-foot-tall poles at different locations near the Lynnwood Civic Center as part of an International Peace Pole project.

Each pole features the message “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in multiple languages. Near the police department’s entrance, a pole was installed with the message written in languages native to some of the officers, including Korean, Spanish, Chinese and Samoan.

The video ended with a message of solidarity spoken in English, Mongolian, Korean and Cantonese.

–By Cody Sexton

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