Over this long past year, we have seen the embedded scourge of racism, intolerance and xenophobia, ever present in our history, once again rise up to towering malignancy as these lesser impulses have been given new voice and a disheartening tolerance, sadly often by our own National political leaders, whose rhetoric has sought to stoke fears and lay blame on the challenges we have faced. Springfield has stood up to these negative impulses and we seek to reaffirm our condemnation of the hate and intolerance that continues.
This week we all recoiled at the news of eight people murdered in Georgia, six of whom were Asian American Women, by a lone gunman in a clear act of hate. This horrific tragedy followed recent, more local, events of similar xenophobia; a violent attack on an Asian American business owner in Norristown, and hateful anti-Asian slurs being spread amongst students in a neighboring school district. Since the start of the pandemic a year ago, nearly 3,800 hate incidents have been reported against Asian Americans Nationwide. From a recent Congressional hearing on the topic it was made clear: The rise in discrimination has brought the Asian American community in the US to a crises point that cannot be ignored. This community is inclusive of Springfield’s own Asian population and workers. Their crisis is our crisis.
We therefore want to make it clear to our neighbors that Springfield Township is a place that supports and nurtures the safety and security of all people. The basic ability to be free from any crime against one’s personhood is inherent to building better communities. One act of xenophobic discrimination negatively impacts us all. No matter who you are, the victims of these bigoted acts and attitudes are our neighbors and friends, family members and loved ones. As such, we stand united with our Asian American and Pacific Islander community members and categorically condemn any act of discrimination or violence against any person, particularly borne out of xenophobic and racist views.
We know that we are not immune from hate. Over the past year we have seen vile leaflets distributed cowardly on our streets and objectionable ad hominem attacks written on placards and posted in public places for all to see. We rose up to forcibly condemn each of those acts through our proactive initiatives of expanding the number of residents on our local civil service commission, seeking ongoing dialogues with residents through surveys and town halls on police community relations, and we continue to work to reform our local human relations ordinance, and otherwise proactively ensure our governance and oversight reflects the values of inclusion and diversity in our community.
We will continue the work of combatting all harassment and discrimination, keeping the recent vulnerability of the Asian American community in mind. Hate has no home in Springfield Township.
The Board of Commissioners of