Fresno creates office aimed at building trust with diverse communities

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – On Tuesday, Mayor Jerry Dyer announced the creation of the Office of Community Affairs to bridge the gap between Fresno’s diverse communities and the city government.

The program will cost the city around $300,000 a year to pay for the salaries of three hand-picked liaisons.

“These folks that stand here today are going to be the ones that often are the people that folks in our community turn to when they don’t know where else to turn.”

The liaisons will be tasked with directing communities to services including visas, how to report hate crimes, and city services for immigrants.

The three picked include Harjinder Saini, Alma Martinez, and Sandra Dee.

They will work with community-based organizations like Centro La Familia, go door-to-door, and use an online survey to find out what resources the community needs access to.

Martinez says because she immigrated from Mexico to the USA at a young age, she can relate.

“I know what it is to want to live the American dream right?” said Martinez. “We want our citizens to be able to trust being able to help them with.”

Since the pandemic, some Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have faced discrimination and hate crimes but are often silent out of fear.

“Just to have them know that the local government is on their side and we are here to do our very best to make sure that doesn’t happen and just so they feel safe. Absolutely safe,” said Lee.

Saini serves as a liaison to the Indian and Sikh communities. He said the office can help residents find resources through the city or other organizations including visitor visas.

“A lot of the city has resources available,” said Saini. “I am just bridging them. From the community to the city resources, just making them marry.”

The liaisons will have offices in the City Hall and Downtown at Fulton Mall. The city has also created a survey on its website and is asking the community for their input on what resources they need help with.

The surveys can be found below:

Hmong: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3GK99JB

Punjabi: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FBXMXXN

Spanish (coming soon): https://www.fresno.gov/mayor/office-of-community-affairs/immigrant-community-support/

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