The latest effort by the Community Alliance Newspaper and its co-sponsors in the Stop the Hate campaign was a meeting at the Fresno Center in Southeast Fresno on January 24. It was a “Take Action Workshop” featuring information on how to report a hate crime. Around 75 people attended.
Cyndee Loryang of the Fresno Center spoke first. She is Program Manager for Stop the Hate at the Center, which provides a range of services to underserved communities in Fresno, focusing on the Southeast Asian community. Simultaneous translation in Hmong was available at the event, as was translation into Spanish.
David Rasavong, whose family owns a Thai restaurant, spoke about how the family’s original location had to be closed because of hateful rumors on the internet. Community Alliance writer Paulina Cruz had been covering the closing, and the opening at a new location in Southeast Fresno with a new name, Love & Thai. Love & Thai catered the meeting, and the food was very much enjoyed.
Efraín Botello Cisneros from the California Department of Justice spoke about the DOJ’s investment in fighting hate crime under Attorney General Rob Bonta. Fresno Police Department Lieutenant Mike Gebhart, Commander of the Southeast District, spoke about actions the City takes when hate crimes are reported. Lt. Gebhart brought with him two Hmong Patrolmen on the force who were well received.
The keynote speech was by Hina Fatima, who spoke about treatment for traumatic experiences related to hate crimes and other experiences of repression. She said trauma causes issues with our internal narratives, which can be explored and healed by techniques related to language.
In closing, the Community Alliance presented a concept for a bumper sticker and lawn signs saying, “Stop the Hate, Be the Love.” The items feature significant colors and a fist representing community power.
This event was organized by the Stop the Hate coalition, of which the Community Alliance newspaper is a part, and was made possible by a grant from the California State Library under the statewide Stop the Hate initiative.
Photos by Peter Maiden