The world has shifted a lot in the last year. As we embark on our second spring of the COVID-19 pandemic, please remember that the parks and trails are our shared outdoor space – they should be safe and welcoming places for all.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in hate crimes against people of East and Southeast Asian descent, continuing recently with the murders in Atlanta and closer to home attacks on elders in Oakland, San Francisco and Daly City. This is weighing heavily on our hearts and minds here at the Parks Foundation.
Three in 10 San Mateo County residents are of Asian descent and San Mateo County Parks’ own 2015-2016 Visitor Study showed that 20% of respondents identified as of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. There is no place for hate in our parks.
The San Mateo County Parks Foundation extends a message of support and solidarity to all of our Asian and Pacific Islander neighbors, friends, family, elders and park visitors: We see you, we value you and we stand with you. You are part of our parks family. We strongly believe that everyone deserves access to and to feel safe in parks and open space.
Soon after George Floyd’s murder, we embarked on a journey to educate ourselves so that we can address overt and systemic racism within our parks. This includes learning about the history of racism against East and Southeast Asian communities, particularly in California. To build a better future for all, we need to listen and learn, speak out and take action.
We have pulled together some of the resources we are utilizing and want to share them with you as well. We encourage you to tell us about your experiences in the parks and to let us know how we can ensure parks are safe and welcoming places for all.
- Learn more about actions you can take to Stop AAPI Hate;
- Attend a free, 1-hour, online Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harassment workshop presented by Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ);
- Listen to voices in the AAPI community here and here and tap into crowdsourced resources here;
- Get involved with Outdoor Asian– they have a Bay Area group;
- Learn how the myth of the “Model Minority” is actually harmful;
- Hear from local voices.
Thank you for your support and love for parks. You are a part of our growing parks family.
From all of us at the San Mateo County Parks Foundation