SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – San Antonio City Council has approved a resolution ‘combating hate speech’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg proposed the resolution, citing hate crimes, discrimination and aggression against Asians and members of the Jewish community across the country.
It states that COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial, religious or ethnic one, and that the use of terms such as “Chinese virus” or “Kung Fu virus” encourages hate crimes against Asians. The resolution also says the Jewish community has been targeted with blame and conspiracy theories about spreading COVID_19 and profiting from the virus.
“There’s not room for discrimination or hate when we see it, so we shout it out collectively that San Antonians, as a community, will not tolerate it,” said Nirenberg.
The resolution says San Antonio joins cities across the country in combating hate crimes targeting Asians, Jews and Pacific Islanders. The motion was seconded by City Councilman Manny Pelaez, who said it’s the right thing to do at the right time.
“We have a very long history in the United States and a tradition, sadly, of xenophobia. It’s in our DNA,” said Pelaez. “It’s alive and well and I believe that it’s more dangerous and more contagious than a virus.”
Senator Ted Cruz blasted the San Antonio City Council in a tweet.
“This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words “Wuhan virus,” tweeted the Republican Senator from Texas. “If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as “the Chinese coronavirus.”
Councilwoman Ana Sandoval commended the mayor for bringing forth the resolution.
“I want to see also how this philosophy permeates through everything that we do in this COVID response,” said Sandoval.
Councilman Clayton Perry originally questioned whether the resolution is necessary because the city already has a Non-Discrimination Ordinance, but he had a change of heart after meeting with members of the Asian community.
“They asked that I support this to show solidarity with the community because there were a couple of incidents here in town,” said Perry.
The resolution urges residents to treat each other with respect and “join us in calling attention to these harms and denouncing hate to help keep us all safe during this unprecedented pandemic and beyond.”
“I think with this resolution we all say resoundingly ‘not in my San Antonio.’ We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Asian brothers and sisters and our Jewish brothers and sisters and our neighbors,” said Pelaez.