Vietnamese tenants of a public housing apartment in New York were shocked to receive a hateful letter officially coming from the city.
An unnamed worker at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development reportedly addressed the letter to “Chi** Ch***,” a racial slur used against people of Asian descent, in place of the actual names of the Vietnamese immigrant recipients, reports ABC7 NY.
Khang Duong and Duc Pham, roommates in an East Side apartment unit, were baffled that the racist letter came from an official city agency.
Pham posted an image of the letter on Facebook which has since been widely shared.
“Even if the blame lies with the inspector, this is a letter from the city, someone has to print it out,” Pham was quoted as saying. “Someone has to fold it and mail it, so clearly there was no oversight there was no checking.”
Prior to receiving the letter, the roommates contacted the city’s housing department to report an issue with the heating and hot water at their residence. According to the roommates, an inspector came to check on them.
“He never asked any of us for our names so what we suspect happened was he put our names down in that form as a racial slur,” Pham said.
City Councilmember Brad Lander took to Twitter on Friday to call the attention of City Hall.
This is infuriating. Bias has no place in NYC — and especially not in an agency whose mission includes fair housing & equal justice.
— Brad Lander (@bradlander) March 26, 2021
“As an Asian, right now, we don’t feel protected by the city,” Pham tells CBS 2 News. “Using an official form, an official letter, and it seems like they don’t really care.”
Update: the employee is suspended without pay & we’re conducting a full investigation to determine further disciplinary action. We’ve reached out to the individual affected to express profound apologies. Racism has no place in NYC. We stand with the AAPI community against hate.
— NYC Housing (@NYCHousing) March 26, 2021