WASHINGTON – The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a torrent of division, racism and discrimination against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. With misogyny, racial division and verbal abuse emanating from the Oval Office itself, the worst elements of society feel they have been given permission to hate.
As the number of COVID-19 cases explodes exponentially, so do the most horrific acts of anti-Asian violence, abuse and discrimination. Asian-American health care workers are reporting a dramatic rise in bigoted incidents. Some patients refuse to be treated by them, and when they leave the hospital, they are facing harassment in their daily lives.
A website recording anti-Asian and Pacific Islander harassment received nearly 1,500 reports in its first four weeks, with AAPI women being harassed 2.3 times more than AAPI men. Types of discrimination include verbal harassment, shunning, physical assault, being stabbed while shopping, being coughed or spat on, workplace discrimination, online abuse and being barred from entering ride-hailing vehicles.
NOW strongly and urgently supports H.Res. 908, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY-6) and its Senate companion by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), which condemn all forms of racism related to COVID-19.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month offers an opportunity to celebrate the AAPI community’s extraordinary achievements for our country. However, throughout this month and during this global crisis, Donald Trump and his racist allies and acolytes have turned to scapegoating, hate speech and inciting violence to avoid responsibility for their own ignorance and failures. Women are well familiar with this tactic—we’ve seen it for centuries.
Today and every day, we recognize the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and we stand with our sisters and brothers, joining them in demanding equal recognition and justice under the law.