LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (May 20, 2022) – When we hear about senseless acts of violence such as the ones that took place in Dallas, Houston, and Buffalo, our hearts hurt and feel for the lives that were lost and affected. It is another thing entirely when we hear that it’s happened in our own backyard – it becomes more nuanced and real. On Sunday morning, the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods became a target of hate, and the impact of this shooting has reverberated throughout the County specifically in the senior Taiwanese American community. Hate activity in Orange County has steadily been on the rise nationally and locally. In Orange County, there has been an overall 42% increase in hate crimes since 2014. The Orange County 2020 Hate Crimes report indicated an 1800% increase in incidents motivated by anti-Asian hate. These increases span the racial/ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, and other forms of violent hate.
“We all have a responsibility to stop hate in its tracks,” said Chairman Doug Chaffee, Fourth District Supervisor. “When we witness hate, we must call it out and put an end to it.”
“Our places of worship are a sanctuary and should be free of hate,” said Vice Chairman Donald P. Wagner, Third District Supervisor. "The acts of heroism by innocent bystanders will always be remembered, especially hero Dr. John Cheng, who tragically lost his life while defending his fellows."
“Hate crimes and discrimination in any form cause long-lasting injuries on victims and the community at large,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, First District. “And we must denounce it loudly and stand resolutely against it at every turn. No less than our children’s future demands that we do this.”
“We will not tolerate hate in our places of worship, schools, or in our community spaces. We must root it out of Orange County and take bold stands against hate in every corner of this country,” said Supervisor Katrina Foley, Second District.
“I am thankful for our first responders who serve without hesitation to protect us during these violent acts,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “I am committed to working with the community and the Human Relations Commission to free us from these incidents of hate and fear.”
The Human Relations Commission (“Commission”) offers its condolences to the parishioners of the Geneva Presbyterian Church, the Taiwanese community, and all of those who have been impacted by this tragic hate crime. We remain steadfast in our mission to eliminate the causes of discrimination, intolerance, and hate. We are committed to bringing support to those in need, creating safe spaces for healing, and leading the conversations on reimagining the ways we fight hate as a community.
It is time that we show up in solidarity with our Taiwanese American neighbors and prove that Orange County will not tolerate hate. The Commission remains committed to the difficult work of promoting respect, diversity, and equity. If you have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim of a hate crime or hate incident, please call your local law enforcement agency. Additional ways to report, call our confidential hotline at 714-480-6580 or report via our online portal at https://www.ochumanrelations.org/hatecrime/report/.