Xenophobic letters targeting minorities posted on homes, police make arrest

SAN LEANDRO, California -- A California community is on edge after a string of racist letters targeting Asian Americans, women and children were found on homes and posted in public.

One of those letters was found by Trinh's brother Friday evening.

"It was shocking and the whole family was really shaken up at it. I can't comprehend hatefulness. Reading this letter [sends] chills down my spine." said Trinh, who is choosing to use only her first name for safety concerns.

Police said there were at least five letters posted on homes and other locations by a woman named Nancy Arechiga.

The letters suggest those not native to America leave the country immediately.

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Trinh read one letter that her family found on a nearby tree trunk at a neighborhood park.

"You, because we consider you're a stranger, one bad person for this country, leave, go far away, go back to your country, the place you belong. Leave this place. You have until the day May 23, 2020, Saturday 10:30 a.m. to leave this country place no Asian allowed. My Country USA,"

Racist attacks against Asian Americans began to rise when the novel coronavirus outbreak began.

An online reporting portal by Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University and other civil rights groups shows more than 100 hate incidents a day across the country.

"Obviously there's been a spike in attacks [against] the Asian American community due to this pandemic," Trinh said. "It's sad to see that. At the end of the day, we just have to really be strong and resilient and speak up when we see something."

Police investigated a similar incident on Thursday evening when a related note was found on a trail, affixed to an information board.

That note partially read, "no Asians allowed, leave immediately."

That post was quickly removed by a good Samaritan and was thrown away. It is presumed that Arechiga is also responsible for that posting.

Police arrested 52-year-old Arichiga for "inappropriate posts towards minorities" but were forced to release her from jail because of the current state bail schedule, which is backed-up due to the pandemic.

This isn't something that sits well with Trinh, who has always considered her neighborhood a quiet and safe place.

"It just tells me they don't take a hate crime seriously."

While Trinh knows speaking out can be scary, police said speaking out and bringing discriminatory incidents to light is why they've added more patrols in the area.

"San Leandro is a community of beautifully diverse people, who share a common desire to live in harmony, and free from intimidation," said Lt. Isaac Benabou. "We welcome people's rights to express themselves, but not in a manner that infringes upon a community's sense of security and wellbeing."

Trinh has this message for Nancy.

"We are a strong family and we will move forward. We're very forgiving, so we just hope that for this woman, whatever she's going through, she'll find peace at the end of the day."
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