California saw more than 800 cases of discrimination and harassment against Asian Americans in the last three months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stop AAPI Hate, “the leading aggregator of incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic,” published a report
on Wednesday stating that there have been 832 self-reported hate crimes against Asian Americans in California in the past 13 weeks.
- In its findings, 81 (9.7% of) Asian Americans reportedly suffered physical assaults amid the pandemic.
- 64 (7.7% of) reports “suggest potential human rights violations,” including “instances where Asian Americans were discriminated at the workplace, barred from establishments or prevented from using transportation.”
- 90 of the cases (11.2%) were about discrimination against elderly Asian Americans.
- 360 of 583 (61.7% of) discrimination and harassment incidents against Asian American women (when gender was specified) were reported by women, twice as many as men.
- These were not isolated cases and suggest a statewide problem: some personal accounts of discrimination and harassment were reported in Los Angeles, Verdugo City, Alameda, Spreckels, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Jose, Rosemead, Livermore and San Diego.
- “The viral video of racism in Torrance is one example of hundreds. It’s the tip of the iceberg of anti-Asian American hate and discrimination,” Russell Jeung, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, said. “Without government accountability, we risk COVID-related racism against Asian Americans becoming deeply entrenched, ultimately impacting the lives of millions of people in California and around the country.”
- The press briefing was attended by California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and Chair of Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus David Chiu, “to make specific and urgent policy demands of the CA state legislature.”
- The report stated anti-Asian racism in America was further ignited by Trump’s continuous use of the term “Kung Flu” in his recent rallies and scapegoating China for the country’s way of handling the pandemic on Twitter.
Call to action:
The Stop AAPI Hate coalition reached out to California Governor Gavin Newsom in a letter
to plead for the creation of a Racial Bias Strike Team to further investigate the growing number of COVID-19-related hate crimes in the state.
- The coalition recommended the strike team, which will consist of key state agencies and departments that “have jurisdiction over public education, implementing state and federal civil rights laws, policing workplace and employment discrimination, providing mental health services to vulnerable communities, and offering support to local Asian American-serving community-based organizations.”
- As the anti-Asian hate continues, the letter recommends key state agencies to work proactively against anti-Asian hate crimes, including the “strengthening the enforcement of existing laws that protect the rights of individuals and educate California businesses on those protections by authorized government agencies, such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.”
- The coalition also suggested the state superintendent to urge school districts to declare their schools “safe havens” and properly address biased-based bullying.
- They also recommended the provision of mental health services through the Department of Health Care Services.
- And lastly, “utilizing the Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity to address the impacts of racism and xenophobia.”
- “We have presented Governor Newsom with clear and effective tactics to combat discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans,” Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, said. “Asian Americans need to see concrete actions and we’re here to work with the state to ensure that we can live free from racial discrimination and enjoy equal rights and access.”