San Diego County Planning Commissioner Tommy Hough called on San Diego leaders Monday to host neighborhood hearings to gather information on local anti-Asian incidents and violence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter delivered to the San Diego Human Relations Commission, Hough provided additional background on anti-Asian hate and intimidation resulting in an outbreak of violence against elderly Asian and Asian-American citizens around the country.
“I want to ensure the city increases its vigilance regarding anti-Asian violence, just as we and our neighbors are increasing our own vigilance,” he wrote.
Violence toward Asians during the pandemic included an incident aboard a San Diego trolley last month in which an elderly Filipino woman was struck in the face. Multiple incidents have been reported nationwide since the beginning of the year.
“This is intolerable in any community,” he said. “This affects our neighbors, friends, and loved ones, and it’s put the heart of our District 6 community in a state of fear and stress about the safety of our streets and sidewalks.”
Hough also requested that police, fire and other first responders take part in the dialogue, in part to discuss potential issues of language barriers and cultural misunderstandings that may arise and may prevent or discourage elderly Asian American and Pacific Islander residents from reporting incidents.
The letter cites incidents tracked by the San Francisco-based non- profit Stop AAPI Hate, which recorded over two dozen anti-Asian incidents in San Diego County between March and December 2020. Hough said neighborhood hearings may encourage other affected community members to come forward.
“Look after your neighbors, especially your elderly neighbors,” he said. “Ensure they feel safe, and that they know you or a friend or a family member is nearby. Offer a ride if they need one.”
Hough has filed papers to run for the San Diego City Council District 6 seat in 2022.
City News Service contributed to this article.