FILAMS IN AMERICAN CANYON UNITE AGAINST RACISM

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 11, 2013

AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. – Members of the Filipino-American Association of American Canyon gathered last night in a show of solidarity. They still do not know who sent the hate mail against Filipinos that circulated in this Northern California suburb this week.

They have been offended but these Filipinos said they will fight back. And for them, the best way to fight back is to show the rest of the community that they stand united against racism.

The letter claimed to have come from a state agency and called Filipinos in the area “filthy” and “unwanted”.

Marie Logan and her family received that hate mail. Marie, a Filipina married to a Caucasian said she was upset by comments made in the letter that slammed interracial marriages.

Her husband, Michael said, “It bothered me. One of the reasons we moved to American Canyon was because the population was so diverse and until that letter was received, we’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Marie’s daughter, Ashley said, “I thought they referred to us interracial kids like animals, like we were bred as our own race.”

Marie’s son, Josh added, “I thought it was mean that they would just send out a letter to people just to make them feel bad about their race.”

While she said she does not feel unsafe in her neighborhood after the hate mail was distributed, Maria said, “We just have to be vigilant. We just have to watch where we’re going and our surroundings right now.”

The American Canyon Police said that while the letter is hateful, its contents may not rise to the level of a hate crime because no specific threats were made. And while it is posed as coming from a state agency, the return label said, “Concerned Neighbors of American County”, so authorities said there may no criminal liability on the sender’s part.

Still, the Filipino community wants this to be resolved.

Anthony Quichon, president of The Filam Association of American Canyon said, “Even with those initial findings, we have to be proactive. We have to make sure the city government is on top of it, doing their own investigation. We are doing our own investigation as well.”

Mayor Leon Garcia it remains to be seen if this matter will be brought to state officials handling hate crime. He said, “The investigation has yet to be finished here. But I’m open to making sure the fullest extent of the law is applied in this case.”

For now, Mayor Garcia’s wife, a Filipina, sends this message to her kababayans: “You define who you are. You don’t let anyone define you.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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