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Council Member Bert Perello (File photo)
Thursday, April 1, 2021

By Chris Frost


Oxnard-- The Oxnard City Council, on March 30, adopted a resolution Condemning Racism, Xenophobia, Violence, and Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).


The resolution came at the request of Councilmembers Bert Perello Perello and Gabriel Tehran.


The resolution said, "the City of Oxnard supports inclusion and belonging for people of all races, genders, national origins, and ethnicities; and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, across the nation, inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric has put AAPI persons, families, communities, and businesses at risk; and such statements promoted unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma, contributing to increasing rates of bullying, harassment, violence, hate crimes and killings against AAPI persons. Women and elderly AAPI persons have been especially targeted in racially-motivated violent attacks causing great bodily harm or death."


Despite the increasing acts of violence, the proclamation said, "Asian American Pacific Islanders provided undeniably crucial contributions to the history of the nation, and numerous individuals of AAPI descent positively contribute to the City of Oxnard's history.


The City of Oxnard should condemn and combat racism, xenophobia, violence, and hate crimes against AAPI persons and ensure that all persons are treated with dignity, equity, and respect - no matter their race, ethnicity, primary language, country of origin, religious beliefs, gender or background," the proclamation read.


After the unfortunate killings in Atlanta, Tehran realized the issue has weighed on him heavily.


"It's all of this violence and senseless death," he said. "I approached the city manager about doing a resolution or some kind of statement with whatever power this body has.  He mentioned that Councilman Perello had asked the same thing. He connected us so we could look at bringing this forward."


Both council members agree the resolution is the right thing to do.


Perello said he grew up with Japanese-American friends Tom, Vick, and Ben, and they were the salt of the earth.


"I'm trying to say American of Japanese extract," he said. "Earlier, when we had the district attorney talk, we were talking about Hispanic attorneys; you're all Americans. The reason why I bring this up, we have a firefighter whose wife has been injured seriously. That family and all those involved in the care of that person do not care about the origin, the color, or the last name of the person working on them to make them better. I donate blood and plasma to people who have cancer. I don't care who they are if they can benefit. I do that because I was married to a woman who was involved in transplants. If they got a heart, they didn't ask where it came from; they're thankful to God that they got something."


Mayor Pro Tem Bryan MacDonald thanked Perello and Tehran, but at the same time, he was saddened they had to bring the resolution forward.


"I looked at a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King many years ago, and he said that he had a dream that his four little kids will one day live in a nation that will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character," he said. "I'm sad to say, Dr. King, I'm sorry, but we are not there yet. We should be there, and we're not."


Councilwoman Gabriela Basua said the resolution is extremely important.


"It talks about not tolerating hatred," she said. "As a parent of three children, I can attest that racism does exist."


Council Member Vianey Lopez said if something in front of them that isn't right bring the courage up to stand with those disenfranchised.


In public comments, Daniel Chavez Jr echoed the comments brought forward by the council.


"Council Member Perello brought up the history of our cities, communities, and our nation," he said. "Growing up, it was always told in history books and stories that this was a country for opportunities and a beacon of hope, that so many would travel here and immigrate here to have a better life for themselves and their families. That same history has also told us there have been decades of discrimination against people of color who have contributed numerous times to this country. I'll echo Mayor Pro Tem MacDonald and say it's unfortunate that this had to come up. For change to take place, it is not on your computer screen or phone; it is in your actions."


The resolution passed unanimously.