Updated: March 18, 2020 11:49 PM
Created: March 17, 2020 10:03 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Just days after KOB 4 reported on a racist prank against an international student, a local Asian American business became the next target.
Mimy Singviley, owner of her family business Asian Noodle Bar, put together a community meeting Tuesday with city leaders and other businesses after her restaurant was the target of racist vandalism.
“My brother came out and noticed the graffiti,” said Singviley. “He called me from inside to come see. When I came out, I read the message I was like this is not right.”
On the back of her restaurant were words ‘Trucha with the coronavirus’.
“It was a message that was hurtful,” said Singviley.
“'Trucha corona' pretty much means watch out for the coronavirus,” said District 1 City Councilor Lan Sena.
Mimy Singviley's said the family restaurant has occupied downtown for the last 13 years.
“I went inside, showed the picture to my husband, and then I went outside where all the cops were at,” said Singviley. “The cops right away asked me if I needed to be escorted out. He knew how serious this was.”
“I'm used to downtown having crime, but then later on. I was like yeah this is serious. This does not need to happen,” she added.
Singviley reached out to leaders in the Asian American community and the city she called home to have a serious conversation about xenophobia.
“It's not safe for our community,” said Singviley. “I don't want to raise my kids in a hate community.”
Singviley received overwhelming support from the community during the talk, but had to cut it short and close the doors to her restaurant in order to comply with local ordinances of social distancing.
“An Asian American man went to a barber shop that he normally goes to,” said Sena. “He was actually turned away because of his Asian heritage, so that's one of the case that I’m hearing. There’s more cases of actual physical attacks.”
The coronavirus does not discriminate, but as the disease spreads, hate showed up along the way.
“This is not Albuquerque. These are not the acts of what we typically see from Albuquerque city,” Councilwoman Sena said.
APD is investigating the vandalism and is working with the district attorney's office on what charges could be filed.
“We're going to use it as a building block,” said Deputy Chief Herold Medina. “We're going to use it as an opportunity to work more closely with the Asian community”
The city is also working on sending out more messages to the public to educate people on the coronavirus.
“We encourage members of the public to really get active and intervening when they see misinformation being spread or any kind of xenophobic comments or activities that they should intervene if it's safe to do so,” said Michelle Melendez, director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Sena said the community will continue to show support.
“We are here for each other. We do have each other's back even though it's six feet apart,” said Sena.
“I want to protect my community. I want to protect my kids. I want to protect the Asian community. I want to be strong. I want to say that graffiti is nothing. We're still going to be strong,” said Singviley.
Anyone who has experienced racism because of the coronavirus can report it to the city's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). APD is working on a list of locations of Asian businesses that may be targeted because of the coronavirus. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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