Racial equity in State College Borough


In the wake of the Osaze Osagie shooting by State College Police in March, the Borough has been working on ways to bring racial equity to the area.
One councilmember however says he fears one minority group could be overlooked.

Asians make up the largest minority group in State College at 11%. The next highest is African Americans at 3%.

This is something a borough council member says can’t be ignored.

“The language of racial equity troubles me in the fact that it seems to be consistently, and this webinar made that impression, focused on only one dimension and that is African American,” David Brown, State College Council Member, said.

At Monday night’s State College Borough Council meeting, Brown addressed a webinar and racial equity plan from “REAL”, “Racial Equity and Leadership”, through National League of Cities.

Mayor Don Hahn, of Korean descent, agrees with Brown that the Borough can’t ignore their large Asian minority group.

“I think it is very important that the discussion about race include all races and that it be done in a constructive, non-accusatory tone,” Mayor Hahn, said.

The Borough is contracting out “REAL”, a program for municipalities, to work with their task force on racial equity as well as mental health in the Borough.

Councilwoman Catherine Dauler assured Brown “REAL” will help the racial-equity and leadership”, a program for municipalities Borough with racial issues pertaining to all races.

Mayor Hahn says in the Borough there’s been times when South Asians or Southwest Asians have been confused for Muslim terrorists.

“There has been several incidents of harassment,” Mayor Hahn, said. “Unfortunately State College has seen some unpleasant incidents based upon that.”

He says they encourage different racial groups to be understanding and interested in one another.

Victor Yao, Penn State student says if non-Asians had this understanding there wouldn’t be so many judgments and racial slurs.

“I want Asian culture to spread around so people can understand what we do and why we do it,” Yao, said.

The State College Borough is hosting their annual Multi-Cultural Unity Day on September 29th. It’s meant to bring understanding and a sense of community to all races in the Borough.

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