Since COVID-19 made world news, prejudice against people of Asian descent has become more apparent and violent. An increase in Asian-directed hate crimes and discrimination since late December has raised safety concerns for those in the Asian American community. In response, people and organizations have risen up to combat this issue.
In mid-March, Russell Jeung, professor and head of the Asian American Studies department at San Francisco State University, partnered with the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and the organization Chinese for Affirmative Action to launch the website “Stop AAPI Hate,” which tracks racist crimes reported by users. According to Jeung, in the past two months there have been 1900 reported incidents, and likely more as many incidents go unreported.
Cities have come together to adopt resolutions in support of Asian American communities against coronavirus-related discrimination. The Irvine City Council’s resolution called on law enforcement to work with state and federal authorities to investigate COVID-19-related hate crimes and threats, and collect and publicly report data on these. The Orange County (CA) Board of Supervisors, along with Garden Grove and Santa Clara County, has also passed resolutions denouncing xenophobia and racism.
“COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not by race or ethnicity,” said Irvine Councilmember Farrah Khan.
“No amount of fear and panic excuses acts of prejudice [and] discrimination,” said Jennifer Wang, chief operating officer of the Asian American Senior Citizens Service Center.
On the East Coast, NCAAT (North Carolina Asian Americans Together), an organization working to support equality, has also offered a way for people to report acts of discrimination during the pandemic.
Link to OC Human Relations form here.
Link to NCAAT bias reporting form here.
Author: Camryn Thomas