The Asian and Pacific Islander community of East Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area has recently organized a meeting in Oakland, California to call out the Alameda Fire Department for sending out a racially offensive card for Lunar New Year.
The group, which organized the news conference at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on Monday morning, is calling for an investigation about the Lunar New Year cards sent out by the personnel at Station 22 that depict racist Asian stereotypes such as being bad drivers, being too short, and setting off fireworks.
According to CBS5, the card in question features three firefighters wearing bamboo hats, which are sometimes known as rice hats or paddy hats, posing inside a classic fire engine parked inside the fire station.
Remember this Lunar New year card from the Alameda county fire department? The API community in Oakland is demanding action be taken at a press conference this morning. They’re denouncing the card as racist saying “the county has a lot of work to do” pic.twitter.com/C6bH19WATx
— Susie Steimle (@SusieKPIX) May 6, 2019
“That is shocking to the community,” Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Carl Chan, told reporters before the news conference. “It also hurts the reputation of many firefighters who are saving lives every day.”
The card was reportedly produced in-house by a group of firefighters at Station 22. It was then printed and sent out to other fire stations, but one of the recipients found the card to be distasteful and immediately sent out a copy to local media, explained Serena Chen, a board member with the Asian Pacific American Caucus of Alameda County according to AsAm News.
Unfortunately, Fire Chief David Rocha declined an interview regarding the incident. But a spokesman from the department issued a statement on Rocha’s behalf saying that they are taking this matter seriously.
“It is inconsistent with our values and the respect we demand our employees demonstrate toward the communities we serve,” he said. “The matter is under investigation as a personnel matter; as such, we have no further comment.”
Featured images screenshot via YouTube / KPIX CBS SF Bay Area