Asian American Lawmakers Tell Congress to Fight Racism and Hate Over Coronavirus

Asian American lawmakers have urged fellow members of Congress to help combat the escalating amounts of racism linked to the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter issued on Wednesday, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), chaired by Rep. Judy Chu, asked the legislature to help them “prevent hysteria, ignorant attacks, and racist assaults that have been fueled by misinformation pertaining to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” through publication of accurate information.

 

The letter cited incidents in which Asian Americans were assaulted over fears of the virus.

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These include the attack on a California teen who ended up in an emergency room, as well as the barring of two Hmong men from lodging at Super 8 and Days Inn outlets in Indiana.

Chu stressed that nobody should be vulnerable to any kind of attack due to fears of the outbreak.

“The members of Congress are the trusted sources out there,” the legislator told NBC News. “So if they say something about what the truth actually is, I think it has meaning. Also, of course, the members of Congress have a huge role to play in calming the public.”

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In a press conference on Friday, Rep. Grace Meng, whose district in Queens, New York is 40% Asian American, said that there are “restaurants that have already been shut down because of poor business,” according to USA Today.

Rita Pin Ahrens, executive director of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, shared a similar observation, saying that their chapters have reported: “diminished patronage to Asian American-owned businesses, from restaurants to grocery stores, to nail salons and to other places and forcing owners into financial crisis and sending workers home.”

Last month, New York City Councilman Mark Treyger slammed such attacks after a man assaulted an Asian American woman in Chinatown and called her a “diseased b***h.”

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Before dropping out of the Democratic presidential candidate race, Andrew Yang also condemned cases of racism tied to the outbreak, arguing that the best way to beat such a sentiment is to contain the disease itself.

Other instances of racism related to COVID-19 fears include a man doused with water in New York City, a woman verbally attacked in the Los Angeles subway and a child turned away from a sample stand at a Costco in Washington.

Such incidents are not limited to the U.S., however, as Asians in Canada, the U.K. and even above international waters — to name a few — have had similar experiences, resulting in a dedicated Wikipedia page.

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Feature Image via Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

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