Article: CA- A small town’s water restrictions are rooted in racism against Hmong farmers, advocates say


Water restrictions in Northern California have prompted protests from a Hmong community, who say the ordinance has led to discrimination and a rise in racial tension in the area. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week to hold a third hearing about the ordinances, which were passed as emergency measures in May. Officials had claimed that the legislation, which prohibits water trucks — defined as vehicles used to carry about 100 gallons of water — from driving on designated roads and fines those who transport water without permits, were in part an effort to curb illegal cannabis farming. While growing cannabis is legal in the state, the county heavily limits the number of plants permitted on a property and forbids outdoor growing altogether. But many Hmong residents, many of whom belong to the area’s large farming population, said the policies disproportionately affect their community and have led to racial profiling by local authorities. Image: Hmong protests (Courtesy Channing Vang) Activists say the policies have escalated tension among the Hmong community, other residents and officials in Siskiyou — pointing to an incident in June, when four officers from different agencies, including the sheriff’s department, shot and killed Soobleej Kaub Hawj, a local farmer. With the restrictions’ possibly being voted into law, many activists say the legislation could deprive farmers and residents of their basic human rights. “It’s almost a visceral feeling, this tension between our communities,” said Zurg Xiong, a Hmong organizer who undertook a three-week hunger strike to protest the county’s handling of Hawj’s death. “A lot of it was the local government and the sheriff’s office actually stoking those tensions.” The sheriff’s department did not reply to a request for comment. Read more

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Source : Article: CA- A small town’s water restrictions are rooted in racism against Hmong farmers, advocates say

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