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Vegas Asian, Pacific Islander members discuss county's symbolic gesture of support

Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 21:57:21-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — "This is my country. I’ve lived here longer than in China.”

Jia Mei Wang has been in Las Vegas for almost 20 years operating as a mortgage lender. She’s a proud American and spent the past year fighting pandemic-related stereotypes and misconceptions.

She says unfortunately she’s heard of incidents from friends of verbal harassment locally with ethnic slurs being used.

“She says her brother got harassed in 99 [Cents Only Stores] store,” she said.

Her efforts are getting a boost from Clark County commissioners.

RELATED: County commissioners approve resolution condemning Asian racism, intolerance

Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday condemning racism towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander community saying the rhetoric pinning them with COVID-19 is wrong.

Wang says she’s glad to see this action taken, especially for a community that historically has exercised restraint causing their concerns to be overlooked at times.

“Don’t say anything. Keep it to yourself. Don’t fight back," she said. "It’s bad to fight with anyone.”

RELATED: Las Vegas Asian, Pacific Islander community pushing back on racism, hate with rally

Sonny Vinuya, a member of Clark County’s Asian-American Pacific Islanders Community Commission (AAPICC) commission, worked with county commissioners on the resolution.

Vinuya says, while the valley hasn’t seen the violence towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander community so far, it’s a step forward in raising awareness and educating people on tolerance.

“That’s what we’re afraid of. We don’t want it to escalate to a point where it becomes violent, so the earlier you nip it, the faster it will be,” he said.

RELATED: Gov. Sisolak, first lady talk with AAPI leaders to discuss recent violence

Duncan Lee, a business owner who’s lived in Las Vegas for more than 30 years says seeing action from local leaders carries weight, even if it’s symbolic.

“Words matter, but actions speak louder than words and I think they take more of a proactive action before something really detrimental happens to the AAPI community,” he said.

Wang says this all comes after community members came out strongly against Asian hate last month and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department stepped up patrols in Chinatown over fears of race-fueled attacks.

She plans to be more vocal and believes pushing back against racism should involve everyone.

“We can unite together to basically fight against this injustice and racism,” Wang said.