Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), the Democracy Initiative, and the undersigned organizations, we are writing to denounce the continued increase in racist attacks and discrimination against the Asian American community, and to express our support for H.Res. 908, introduced by Representative Grace Meng (D-NY-6) and its Senate companion by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI); both of which condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19.
Hate and bigotry are not consistent with realizing the promise of American democracy where all of us have an equal voice. COVID-19 is a public health crisis that has fundamentally disrupted our way of life and is saddling our most vulnerable individuals and communities with significant new burdens. Our collective focus must be on overcoming this challenge and caring for one another.
As the number of COVID-19 cases have increased, so too have attacks targeting Asian Americans. On March 14th, the New York Post published an article of a Chinese American father walking his son to the bus stop and was verbally and physically attacked by an angry stranger. Just days later in Texas, a Burmese man and his son were stabbed at a local Sam’s Club by a young man who attacked them because of their race. As these attacks have continued surging, we are concerned that as our country continues to struggle to overcome COVID-19, anxiety, frustration and fear will intensify before it subsides. This could lead to additional attacks on the Asian American community.
We strongly oppose laying blame for the virus that results in the targeting of a group of people. In this context, we have significant concerns with H.RES. 907, introduced by Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN), which seeks to place primary blame on the Chinese government for the spread of COVID-19. The rhetoric contained in this resolution only fuels anti-China xenophobia, which in turn, puts the larger Asian American community at risk. For this very reason, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, have all advised against using such language and framing around COVID-19.
We believe there will be a time and place to assess the COVID-19 pandemic; including whether world leaders acted responsibly to prepare and protect their people from its impact. However, while the American people continue to struggle with the immediate challenge of keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy, we need our leaders to help unite the country—not stoke fear and confusion.
We are all in this together, and we stand with the Asian American community.