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Commissioners confront racial intolerance at meeting

In a show of unity, the Lycoming County commissioners recently condemned an incident last week in which an Asian-American resident who was making deliveries for an area restaurant was verbally attacked with racial epithets.

“Three individuals appeared to act as though they were going to rob the person, and then when he got in his car, hurled racial — or would you call them ethnic — epithets. This is really wrong,” said Comissioner Rick Mirabito.

“It’s wrong whether it happens with anybody in our community. Whether they’re Italian, Jewish, Black, Chinese or whatever. The reason I’m saying this today is because I really think it’s important for us as a community to cut off intolerance as soon as it happens, so that it doesn’t have an opportunity to take root and grow,” he added.

Mirabito shared that the delivery person was told to go back to China.

“It is really a concern to us. It would be of concern because it’s raising the specter of things getting out of hand and we don’t want that kind of intolerance in our community,” he said.

He urged people to call out others who use racial slurs or insults against any member of the community.

“These are crimes when you engage in activity that is consistent with a hate crime. It’s a violation of the law” he said.

There have been reports recently that members of the Chinese community have been targeted.

Mirabito attributed these local incidents to what has been reported on the national level.

Commissioner Scott Metzger joined Mirabito in his plea for unity and holding people accountable for their actions.

“There is no race, gender, sex that should have to ever fear violence. It’s zero-tolerance,” Metzger said.

“One time is too many. What that individual went through, the fear he must have felt, is inexcusable,” he added.

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