Like many other ethnic groups in the United States, Asians and Pacific Islanders have a long history in this country that dates back centuries. Throughout this time, Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have fought against being treated as perpetual foreigners.
They’ve faced discrimination, exclusion, and violence through government policy, such as the Page Act of 1875, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. The 1965 Hart-Celler Act effectively limited immigration to Asians with specific professional skills that required advanced degrees, helping to create the model minority myth. Today’s AAPI community is diverse and complex, and the model minority myth belies the reality of persistent inequities in housing, wages, working conditions, and more.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the former President turned the COVID-19 virus into an ethnic slur against Asian people - and since then, there has been a documented uptick in reported incidents of discrimination, hate incidents, and violence against the AAPI community. The recent murders in Atlanta brought attention to the rise in violence against AAPI, particularly the violence that AAPI women have faced as they are exotified and hyper-sexualized.
On this #StopAsianHate Day of Action, the City of Tucson stands in solidarity with the AAPI community against anti-Asian violence in all of its forms. We must acknowledge and work to root out the prejudice and discrimination the AAPI community faces on an everyday basis. I ask all Tucsonans to join me in this effort in order to create a more just, inclusive society that celebrates our diversity and does not tolerate hate.
Background information, statistics, and resources on how the public can participate in efforts to eliminate hate and discrimination against the AAPI community are available here.
I am happy to welcome Manisha Bewtra, AICP (she/her) to my team! She will be serving as my Planning and Development Advisor. In this role, she will be my liaison on transportation, land use, economic development, and infrastructure projects. Manisha is an experienced public process facilitator and project manager and works collaboratively my team and city departments to apply an equity and inclusivity lens to all city initiatives.
Manisha has built her career on bringing divergent perspectives together, facilitating conversations around change, and generating data-informed solutions that move communities forward. She is driven by public service and champions equitable policies and inclusive community engagement. Prior to her current role, she has worked for regional and state planning agencies, municipal government, nonprofit community development organizations, and as an adjunct instructor in several metropolitan areas across the US, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Phoenix, and Boston. She has a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics and Art from The University of Iowa.
Before moving to Tucson in the summer of 2020, she lived in the Boston area for twelve years, most of it in Melrose, Massachusetts, where she served as a Human Rights Commissioner and subsequently as a City Councilor. She grew up in Iowa and identifies as Indian-American. She, her husband, and her soon-to-be nine year-old son felt welcomed and right at home in Tucson when they moved here – even in spite of a pandemic and searing summer heat.
City I welcome Tucsonans to join the conversation as we work alongside one another to re-imagine how we co-govern as one community. Feedback from community members is a critical component of the budgeting process as we approach budgeting decisions for the next fiscal year. I encourage all Tucsonans to participate and make their voice heard.
Register for our last two town halls below:
Community Safety Town Hall
Saturday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m.
Registration link: http://bit.ly/3lakl4Z
Resilient Recovery Town Hall
Thursday, April 8th at 5:30 p.m.
Registration link: https://bit.ly/3qJAvDk
Winter and early spring can be tough times for individuals experiencing homelessness in Tucson. In February, the Tucson Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Unit conducted 111 outreach activities in the field involving the homeless. Over 103 homeless individuals were contacted and provided with resources and services. None of these contacts resulted in arrests.
Approximately 100 complaints and calls for service related to homeless persons or encampments (coming in through 911 or other means) were handled by the Homeless Outreach Unit. This unit was also involved in cleaning up over 20 smaller homeless camps, helping occupants transition into other safer, and in many cases longer term, living arrangements. This saved the City money and addressed multiple neighborhood complaints.
The Homeless Outreach Coalition (Sgt. Jack Julsing of TPD’s Homeless Outreach Unit is the Vice Chair) has identified a “Top 10 Homeless Hot Spot” list for reoccurring outreach deployments. A greater effort to ensure frequent outreach in these areas involving City and community services is being stressed. It should also be noted that Sgt. Julsing was a recipient of the 31st FBI/LULAC Outstanding Community Service Award – congrats Sgt. Julsing!
Tucsonans, we want your input in diverse city initiatives. Help us shape the future of the City by completing the following surveys:
Our Climate Action and Community Survey is now live! Please tell us what your climate action and sustainability priorities are to inform the City’s Climate Action Plan.
Rumors are swirling that there may be a renewed effort to consolidate postal service centers across the nation. Please CONTINUE to share why Cherrybell is important to YOU by taking the survey so that we can communicate just how critical Cherrybell is to our community.
You can now report online your own tree-planting efforts as we strive to plant 1,000,000 million trees by 2030! Be part of the Tucson Million Trees initiative and report your planted trees.
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