Eau Claire works to improve relations with AAPI community

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The city of Eau Claire is trying to do more to support its Asian American and Pacific Islander residents. Today, city officials laid out priorities to help put an end to hate and violence against this notable ethnic group. First News at Nine’s Max Cotton explains.

Downtown Eau Claire banners say “welcome” in many languages.

But last week, city officials heard stories of unwelcome behavior targeted at its Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Dave Solberg, Interim Eau Claire City Manager said, “Hearing people call in, that are members of our community, and they’re not able to go to Phoenix Park and enjoy Phoenix Park because they have someone accusing them of starting a worldwide pandemic. That is absolutely unacceptable.”

Solberg and other city officials are being a push announced Monday to work with several local AAPI organizations. The goal is to make this minority feel more inclusive.

Chief Matt Rokus Eau Claire Police Department said, “It’s important to recognize the experiences and concerns of our fellow community members. We must also commit ourselves to action. In partnership, we can work with others to build a more welcoming and inclusive community.”

Despite recent attacks on the Asian American community elsewhere in the county, Solberg the city’s been working to create the partnership for almost a year.

“We want to be able to hear resources. What resources do we have from the city can help resources and individuals with, you know, perhaps business start-ups or housing or educational opportunities or cultural understanding,” said Solberg.

Mai Xiong, President of Eau Claire’s Hmong American Leadership and Economic Development says it’s about building relationships through the Eau Claire community.

“When you don’t know about culture, you don’t know. And you can only assume,” said Xiong.

The task-at-hand is to make Asian American and Pacific Islander community feel more welcome in this city.

In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

In addition to heading Hmong American Leadership And Economic Development, Xiong is an Eau Claire City Council member. Solberg says the city is also partnering with Eau Claire County to hire an Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion Coordinator.

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