(Idaho Falls, ID) – Representatives from the City of Idaho Falls met with members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community last week to listen to concerns about recent incidents in the country of attacks on those of AAPI descent.
Mayor Rebecca Casper and Councilman Jim Francis from Idaho Falls joined Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, along with the police chiefs and human resource directors from both cities in a phone conference with members of the AAPI community who had invited the city officials to join them for a dialogue about recent national events and their impact on the local AAPI communities.
The Mayor and Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson assured the attendees that they keep close watch on crimes that may be targeted at one particular group. Both government leaders and AAPI members agreed that Eastern Idaho has generally been a safe place for the AAPI community, but given recent national events, also agreed it was important to have open and ongoing dialogue between local government, law enforcement and communities such as AAPI.
Participants from the AAPI community expressed their intent to gather a more formal organization of members in order to have a regular dialogue with local leaders. City leaders were united in their support for ongoing dialogue and collaboration.
“We absolutely want to have open lines of communication with all citizens and groups in the city, and especially so with those who have particular concerns,” said Mayor Casper.
In the Monday, April 5 City Council work session, Mayor Casper and Councilman Francis reported on the meeting to the City Council. In their report they talked about the importance of supporting AAPI and maintaining ongoing relationships with them and similar organizations within the community.
“We came to listen and heard some things that were both disturbing and informing,” said Councilman Francis. “There was an undercurrent of elements of discrimination… subtle things in our community that I don’t think about in my normal day to day.”
Francis shared the anecdotal experiences of AAIP members about negative treatment experienced by members of the AAPI community in the past and expressed how important it is for the residents to step forward to stop hurtful comments and to help prevent discrimination themselves. He also stressed the importance of building ongoing partnerships with the AAPI community as the city has with others.
Both Mayor Casper and the IFPD have committed to continuing to work with the group to help strengthen relationships as they have with other groups within the Idaho Falls community.
“IFPD is committed to working with all members of our community towards ensuring that Idaho Falls is a safe place for everyone,” said Chief Johnson. “We have and will continue to meet with groups and members of our community who have concerns and a desire to work together towards that shared goal.”
# # #
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with City staff, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306 or at [email protected]