Letter to the City of Westminster - Reject Amicus Brief Against SB54

April 11, 2018

Dear Honorable Mayor Ta, Councilmember Diep, Councilmember Contreras, Councilmember Ho, and Councilmember Rice,

My name is Cathy Lam. I am a parent and member of VROC (Viet Rainbows of OC) and a member of PIVOT - The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization.  

As a refugee from Vietnam, I was raised in Westminster since the age of 12. Forty-three years later, both of my parents, Tony Lam and Mau Hop, still call Westminster home, where I often stay with them three months out of the year. 

Before you vote on the amicus brief filing against SB 54, I would like to bring up the things that I most treasure about this city. Westminster has succeeded and prospered because of the diversity everywhere in our city. I see many younger business owners taking over, honoring, and reinventing their parents' business. I would like people in the world to remember what Westminster is about, how it was built, and our history.

In 1946, Mendez v. School District of Westminster set a precedent for desegregation of schools seven years before Brown v. Board of Education. In 1996, the National Civic League awarded Westminster as an All-America City in recognition of communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues. Little Saigon has become a food and cultural center for the entire region, with tourists flocking from all over the world to visit this area. Little Saigon has been covered by Sunset magazine, Huell Howser, The New York Times, Lonely Planet, Tripadvisor, Huffington Post, CBS, KCET , KQED, The LA Times, OC Register, Xtreme Foodie, Yelp, LA Weekly, OC Weekly and many more. 

Divisiveness and racial animosity have been key parts of our history, but we have also seen how much our city and community benefit when we choose to reject those impulses. I urge you to not go down the wrong path today in filing this amicus brief against SB 54. Not only will it cost the city time and unnecessary resources, it will set us against our proud history as a diverse city of immigrants. Please be mindful of our strengths and the opportunity to stand on the right side of history. I urge you to represent our community and reject this motion. Make us all proud to be from Westminster.

Thank you,
Cathy Lam
Hilo, Hawaii