A message from Mayor Barbara Halliday
Dear Hayward Community Members,
I am writing to share with you a new way for us to support each other during this public health emergency. Last week, the City of Hayward established a Hayward Community Relief Fund to receive and direct charitable donations to sustain and protect local residents and businesses through the COVID19 pandemic.
The Relief Fund was started in response to expressions of interest from community members about ways to help out. Initial focuses of the Fund will be on helping our economically most vulnerable residents, on supporting local small businesses to curb job loss, and on strengthening our City’s coronavirus testing capability to continue helping slow the spread of the virus, keeping first responders and health-care workers on the job, and keeping everyone’s families safe. You can read more about the Fund here in the April 2nd news release, and go to www.hayward-ca.gov/ReliefFund to contribute and let us know if there is a specific purpose to which you’d like to see your support go.
I also want to say a word about the spirit in which this effort—and all of our responses to this pandemic—are being undertaken. In Hayward, when someone asks for help, we provide it without consideration of race, immigration status, or country of origin. This is true when someone appears at our COVID-19 Testing Center; when someone needs assistance making rent; or when someone applies for an emergency grant to keep a business open. This is who we are and how we operate in providing all of our City services, health emergency or not. In 2017, we made a community commitment to being inclusive, equitable, and compassionate. Even as we practice social distancing, we must work together now more than ever to keep that commitment.
This spirit of inclusion, of being in this together, extends to all members of our richly diverse city and region. Sadly, I, along with other Bay Area mayors, have received reports of stigmatization, harassment, and abuse impacting Chinese nationals and immigrants in Hayward and beyond. Many of these incidents occurred in the aftermath of inappropriate references to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus,” a reference to the city in China where the pandemic is understood to have originated. We should remember that deadly diseases originate in countries throughout the world, including in the United States, and they create threats shared by all humankind. This is not a time for blame and name-calling. Here in Hayward, and throughout the nation, we are drawing on lessons learned and strategies used in Wuhan and elsewhere in China and East Asia to combat and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and we are grateful for those lessons and strategies.
In Hayward, there is no room for racism, nor for stigmatization, harassment, or abuse based on race or country of origin. In Hayward, we are in this together, and we must keep our community values in mind as we endure the necessary constraints on our daily lives that this crisis has wrought.
Among those constraints is the Shelter-in-Place order issued by Bay Area county Health Officers on March 16th—and recently expanded and extended to May 3rd. County Health Officers took this step because they determined that more and stricter social distancing is needed to slow the rate of spread, which in turn will keep the health care system from becoming overwhelmed, preserve critical hospital capacity across the region, and save lives. Lives depend on all of us obeying and abiding by this order by staying home, social distancing when we do have to go out, and taking other precautions to protect ourselves and each other, including handwashing and wearing cloth face coverings in public places.
Your City government is working hard to maintain vital police, firefighting, emergency medical, water, and sewer services while adapting and shifting resources to respond to the health and economic effects of COVID-19 on our community. The same is true of our partners at the Hayward Unified School District and Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. As always, we are working together to serve Hayward.
As part of this effort, the City Council will continue to hold public meetings to conduct necessary business but will do so using teleconference technology and other online tools. Our next meeting is at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7. Council members and City staff will be attending from remote locations. Members of the public will be able to view the broadcast live on Comcast Channel 15 and on our www.hayward-ca.gov live-stream, and they may participate and provide comment and input through email, online, and by telephone. Written comments on specific agenda items can be emailed to List-Mayor-Council@hayward-ca.gov or sent online via eComment on the City’s Meeting & Agenda Center webpage at https://hayward.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. During the meeting, members of the general public can provide in-meeting remarks on particular agenda items by calling the City Clerk at (510) 583-4400 and asking to speak prior on the particular item. I want to thank our City Clerk, Information Technology Department, and Community and Media Relations Division for their outstanding collaboration in making all of this happen.
In closing, I want to say how proud and encouraged I am about how our community is rising to the challenge of COVID-19. Many people have stepped up to help in many ways that exemplify this city we call “the Heart of the Bay.” We are doing what is needed, and our tactics are working. Let’s stick with it like our own lives and our neighbors’ lives depend on it—because they do.
Mayor Barbara Halliday