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Bay Area Nonprofit, Asian American Residents Sue Siskiyou County

A Bay Area nonprofit is going after county laws and ordinances targeting Asian Americans in Siskiyou County, filing a federal lawsuit that, if they win, could help Asian Americans across the country.

An influx of Asian Americans in the Northern California county around 2016 created an upsurge in racism, discrimination and harassment, according to the class action suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.

Peter Thao has lived in Siskiyou County since that time, having moved there along with many other Asian American families, particularly Hmong Americans.

“As we got situated here, we bought property here, we felt like we got ourselves into a discomfort zone or environment,” Thao said.

The lawsuit names the county and Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue and hopes to represent hundreds of Asian Americans who either live in, own property in or travel by automobile in Siskiyou County.

Backed in part by the American Civil Liberties Union and Asian Americans Advancing Justice in the Bay Area, the suit includes three main complaints:

  • Those in the Asian American community had water access restricted.
  • Asian Americans were targeted for traffic stops at a rate about 12 times their share of the population.
  • Illegal liens were issued for unpaid fines for the unlawful growth of cannabis.

For Thao and many others, Siskiyou County is their home, where they plan to stay, raise their kids and fight.

“If this can happen to Siskiyou County, this can happen to any county here in California, or it can happen to any other states within the United States,” Thao said.

Siskiyou County and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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