San Francisco Launches New Campaign to Unite Communities Against Discrimination
The Stand Together campaign is focused on uniting San Franciscans against discrimination and bias, and includes a series of monthly Town Hall events
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of the Stand Together campaign to denounce and combat discrimination in San Francisco. The campaign, organized by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and community leaders, began today with a Town Hall about anti-Asian discrimination. Over the coming months, the City and community will host a series of public Town Halls with community leaders to work collectively to address bias and discrimination. The Stand Together campaign will also include community inspired artwork and youth-led projects that will attempt to repair community relationships that have become especially strained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“San Francisco strives to be a city that celebrates all of its diverse communities, but we know that racism and discrimination persist, and have been heightened due to COVID-19,” said Mayor Breed. “It’s important that we talk about what we can do to support each other, and that we don’t shy away from calling out racism and having hard conversations. We need to send a strong signal that San Francisco will not tolerate racial discrimination and that we will stand together to oppose hate. This will take concentrated work to keep up this momentum, and our Stand Together Town Halls and campaign gives us a platform to work together and create a more just and equitable city.”
“The health and social disparities exploited by COVID will only expand if we do not stand together,” said Sheryl Davis, Executive Director, Human Rights Commission. “Our liberation is linked. If we are going to address the many pandemics happening at this moment, we have to be united in our fight!”
The Stand Together campaign and monthly Town Hall series is designed to address racism against communities of color and the need for cross-cultural relationship building. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, xenophobic and racist remarks and actions have resulted in the increase in anti-Asian hate incidents nationally, including in San Francisco. According to Chinese for Affirmative Action, a co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic, there are over 2,700 reported incidents coming from throughout the nation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. California represents 43% of incidents or 1,186 of the total accounts, and San Francisco has 282 or roughly 24% of all California reported incidents.
The purpose of today’s kickoff event, Stand Together: Uniting Against Discrimination and Bias, was to raise visibility regarding the increase of anti-Asian discrimination and racism as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Town Hall elevated stories from San Francisco’s Asian and African American communities that demonstrate their shared struggles and successful allyship in the past, discuss the ways that their communities have been pitted against each other and why, and emphasize that collective liberation depends on standing together.
The virtual event had a diverse panel of representatives from the City’s Asian and Black communities, which discussed ways to bring together communities of color to oppose and reduce anti-Asian racism. The conversation also focused on how to increase the feeling of safety in Asian communities, and expand anti-racist work within Asian communities to support other communities of color, with an emphasis on San Francisco’s Black community.
Mayor Breed provided opening remarks at the event, which was moderated by Michelle Meow, a local radio and television personality and leading voice in the San Francisco Bay Area for the Asian-American and LGBTQ communities. Other panelists included Eddy Zheng, President and Founder of the New Breath Foundation; Jon Osaki, the Executive Director of the Japanese Community Youth Council; Monetta White, Executive Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora, and prominent community leaders Reverend Arnold Townsend and Reverend Norman Fong.
“As we continue to address catastrophic global public health and national security crises, San Francisco will continue to lead and stand united with and protect our Asian and Black communities from both viruses: SARS-CoV-2 and hate,” said Hala Hijazi, San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner. “The pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and scapegoating. Increases in racist rhetoric have resulted in increases in racist attacks. We are taking urgent steps to prevent racist and xenophobic discrimination and violence linked to the COVID19 pandemic against our brothers and sisters in the Asian community. Today’s forum is one of the efforts to expand public outreach, promote tolerance, and counter hate speech.”’
“I am delighted that the Human Rights Commission has convened this town hall to address the impact of anti-Asian discrimination and hate on the Asian Pacific American community,” said Irene Yee Riley, Human Rights Commissioner. “It is imperative to have a timely conversation about how communities of color can build alliance and support each other.”
In addition to the Town Hall events, the Stand Together campaign includes school workshops, youth internships and virtual events to highlight social justice, cultural identities, and examples of community unity.
For more information about the Stand Together campaign, including upcoming Town Hall events, go to StandTogetherSF.org.