We must stop Anti-Asian racism.
Since COVID-19 began, there has been an increasing rise in documented hate crimes targeting people of the Asian diaspora that needs our attention. However, the violent acts of racism towards our Asian and Asian American neighbors face is nothing new. Historically, Asians/Asian Americans in America have faced great disparities such as model minority myth, xenophobia, gaslighting, and generational trauma. Another factor that further escalated harassment and violence towards these communities were the lies and distortion of information articulated by political leaders who claimed that the COVID 19 pandemic was entirely the responsibility of China and therefore extended to other Asian and Asian American groups.
The myth that Asian and Asian Americans are responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic is incredibly harmful and dehumanizing.
Let me make this clear: They are not!
While the virus may have been first been detected in Wuhan, China, we cannot and should not blame any single group for the spread of the disease. COVID – 19 has caused unprecedented harm and destruction, and this wave of harassment and discrimination simply causes more harm.
We as an organization condemn the hate crimes targeting Asian and Asian American communities.
In the United States, there has been a 150% increase in hate crime towards Asian Americans from 2019 – 2020. Most recently, there has been a surge of hate crimes targeting Asian elders and women. The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council reviewed 673 reports of discrimination from March 19 – 25, 2020, and found that they were receiving about 100 reports of coronavirus discrimination each day towards Asian people, with the most commonly reported type of discrimination being verbal harassment. Locally, reports of discrimination have been brought to the attention of our community leaders by the City of Tacoma Office of Equity and Human Rights. Included are reports of physical and verbal assault, harassment in the workplace and acts of discrimination against immigrants and refugees at local food banks.
We are called to stand up for each other at this time – overcome the disease by following health protocols (mask-wearing and social distancing) and getting vaccinated. Together, we can overcome the devastating impacts of the disease. More importantly, we must work together to build a culture where all are treated respectfully and with compassion.
You may ask, “What can I do?”
We strongly encourage people to report incidents of harassment or discrimination to the Washington State Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs. And if you know of someone who has experienced harassment and/or discrimination then you can help them to report their experiences to the proper agency that can help them. Another way to support your fellow Asian and Asian American neighbors is to support and buy from local Asian-owned businesses. Many of them have been severely impacted by this discrimination.
We recognize that some people may be fearful to report to local law enforcement. We understand. But it is critical to get accurate information in order to document what is happening. Then together, we can taking action to support people who are victims or try to take preventive measures.
At Safe Streets, we have a vision where everyone can live, work and play in a safe and healthy environment. This includes safety from harassment and discrimination of any sort.
We are so blessed to have a vibrant Asian and Asian American community that makes significant contributions to the strength and well-being of the Pierce County community.
Let’s work together to build an environment where all can thrive and put a stop to Anti-Asian racism.