City leaders gathered with members of the community Wednesday to march from City Hall to a local Filipino-owned business. The idea was to show unity among the diverse groups that live in the small community and reject the messages contained in the angry letter, sent anonymously.
"I said, 'Oh my God, this is just filth," pediatric nurse Marie Logan recalled. She is among several Filipino-American residents of American Canyon who received one of the letters. It came in the U.S. mail, claims to be from the California Board of Cosmetology, and refers to an expired license under another person's name.
At first, Logan didn't think the letter was directed at her, but then she read the second part of it which chastises those of Filipino descent, who have mixed-race children. "It's not really addressed, but it just seems to fall on the right people, to get this kind of letter. Being of Filipino race and my husband is Caucasian I just thought, 'Oh my God. Is this addressed to me?'" she told ABC7 News.
With a return label that says "Concerned Neighbors of American Canyon," the letter also uses terms like "filthy" and "unwanted" to describe the local Filipino community. Acknowledging that the letter clearly targets certain individuals in her Community City Manager Dana Shigley called it not only shocking, but appalling. "We have always valued our Filipino, as well as all the races here, and it's just not part of this community's core values," she said.
Contacted by ABC7 News, California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology spokesman Russ Heimerich said, "This letter is both disgusting and despicable. None of the information in the letter regarding licensees is accurate, making it nothing more than a repulsive work of fiction."
Though it may not warrant an arrest or criminal prosecution, city leaders are taking the hateful letter very seriously. "It's a great opportunity for us to reach out to our neighbors, to use this unfortunate incident to get to know your neighbors, understand each other's cultures and our perspectives," said American Canyon council member Belia Ramos.
On Wednesday, the American Canyon police chief said that while the letter is definitely hateful, its contents may not rise to the level of a hate crime because there no specific threats were made. Nonetheless, they are looking for the individual or individuals who sent it and would like to have a conversation with them to make sure there are no other motives at play.