Chinese American communities in parts of New Jersey have reportedly raised more than $30,000 for medical supplies critically needed in several hospitals to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
The fundraising plan emerged from a few residents on the evening of March 17 and later involved other community members in Warren, Watchung, Green Brook and Long Hill.
The volunteers first disseminated instructions on how to donate money through WeChat. One house was also designated as a collection site for supply donations, including disinfectants, sanitizers and wipes.
In just three hours of fundraising, area residents reportedly donated over $15,000 through PayPal. The Sundance School, an independent private school for children, contributed $5,000.
As of March 23, donations amounted to a total of $31,214.60, according to local news outlet Echoes-Sentinel, a member of the New Jersey Hills Media Group.
Beneficiaries included Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (New Brunswick), Overlook Medical Center (Summit), Somerset Medical Group (Warren), Morristown Medical Center, local police and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
The primary committee organizers included Zhi Chen and Yuqing Feng of Green Brook; Connie Wu, Jiedong Diao, Xiaojun Peng, Yuexin Li, Tian He, Xuming Wang and Li Zhang of Warren; and Liping Wang of Watchung.
“Everyone feels the strong need to help our own home,” Yuqing Feng said, according to Echoes-Sentinel. “Our home is here. We’re originally from China, but here is our home now. We want to do whatever we can to fight against this virus and work with anyone together, and we can make this country overcome this virus.”
Feng and the rest are very much aware of the racism and xenophobia toward Asian Americans — particularly Chinese Americans — amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just want society to know what our Chinese community is doing. We are not perpetual foreigners,” Feng added. “We are here, this is our land, this is our home, this is our country. We will try our best to do good things [for] this country … I think what we are doing is also an important way to fight against racism against Chinese people.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has condemned racist attacks against Asian American communities. In a recent telephone news conference, he stressed that “diversity is the core strength of the state,” according to NJ.com.
“This repugnant and repulsive behavior is wrong,” Murphy said, without citing specific incidents. “We are one New Jersey family. Everyone is fighting the same fight. We are going to get through this together.”
It bears repeating: #COVID19 is NO excuse for racism.
This is a time for us to come together as one New Jersey family, not discriminate against our Asian American communities and businesses. https://t.co/zxG0mpYwqS
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 11, 2020
Murphy’s statement, however, came a week after a 65-year-old man from Vernon was charged with bias intimidation after using a racial slur and blaming another man for the outbreak while shopping at a supermarket.
Last week, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released a set of guidelines under the state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to address similar incidents.
Feature Images via Echoes-Sentinel (Connie Wu)