City of Savannah introduces new task force: AAPI for Savannah

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A new task force was introduced Thursday aimed at making the city of Savannah more inclusive for residents of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent.

“When I think about AAPI, I think about harmony and unity,” says Whitney Gilliard, the chairperson of AAPI for Savannah.

Leaders shared what they hope to accomplish through this task force.

“AAPI for Savannah seeks to promote harmonious relationships among Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, bridging all cultures in the city of Savannah by honoring AAPI heritages and histories through education and celebrations,” says Pastor Joseph Wong of AAPI for Savannah.

“We want to make sure that we have a flow of communication both from our city to our AAPI community and from our AAPI community to our city,” says Mayor Van Johnson.

Chairperson Gilliard says this task force is about representation.

“We will work tirelessly and diligently to make sure every voice and every culture is represented in this beautiful city,” Gilliard said.

The introduction of this task force comes on the heels of a rise in hate incidents against the AAPI community.

According to the organization Stop AAPI Hate, from March of 2020 to September of this year, over 10,000 hate incidents against people of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent occurred.

AAPI for Savannah says they want to go beyond focusing solely on anti-hate.

“Moving away from solely focusing on anti-hate to more about promoting the community we have here,” explains Vandana Abrams of AAPI for Savannah.

Through celebrating AAPI heritages and histories, task force leaders say they hope to bridge divides and promote inclusivity.

“Here, in what we’re trying to do in seeing this come to life, is representation,” says Gilliard.

Members of the task force know firsthand how important representation is.

“Growing up here, I attended public school, I went college here at Savannah State University, I made Savannah my home and now I have children,” says Michelle Adams of AAPI for Savannah.

Adams says, “Seeing this task force come about makes me proud.”

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