City council works to bring back Oakland Chinatown Ambassadors to deter violence

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – There is an effort to revive a non-police public safety program in Oakland’s Chinatown.

This comes in the wake of several acts of violence against members of the Bay Area’s Asian community. 

“What we have been seeing especially in social media is provoking just a lot of care and compassion but also alarm because some of these incidents have been very violent,” Nikki Fortunato Bas said. 

Reviving a community-based public safety solution like Oakland’s Chinatown Community Ambassadors Program may help deter some of that violence. 

That is why Oakland City Council president Nikki Fortunato Bas is leading an effort for the ambassadors to return.

“The Chinatown Ambassador Program that has been going since 2019 has been one of the ways that we are showing what community-driven safety looks like. Building relationships with merchants, with neighbors, escorting seniors to their appointments, picking up litter, cleaning up graffiti. Really just being a constant presence so community members know whom they can go to for help,” Fortunato Bas said. 

Funding for the initial Chinatown Community Ambassadors was provided by members of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

“I think that will be a good supplement but I want to make sure with this ambassador program, it’s not like a replacement of the police department. I think that’s important because we do believe we still need the police help doing much of it,” president of Oakland Chamber of Commerce Carl Chan said. 

The city council president agrees.

“Knowing that we need sworn trained officers to focus on violent crime, focus on investigations, the really important work that they receive training to do. The ambassadors are a supplement to that,” Fortunato Bas said. 

She is asking for the community’s support to help fund this effort.

“One way you can get involved is by making a donation,” Fortunato Bas said. 

Donations can be made at asianhealthservices.org.

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