This week, Asian Americans Rising, a non-profit group “committed to increasing Asian American representation in politics,” issued a statement thanking Orange County political leaders who “stood with us to denounce xenophobia and racism” when the Asian American community was under attack.
I am deeply honored to be included among these courageous political leaders.
Asian Americans Rising president Katie Nguyen Kalvoda explained:
“Over 2,000 hate incidents were directed at Asian Americans this year as a result of Trump’s hateful words calling the coronavirus the “kung flu” “Chinese virus”. Women, children, grandmothers of all Asian descent were attacked, stabbed, set on fire all across this country. I would have never imagined the day that I would bear witness to that. Me, my kids, our loved ones are viewed as the ‘yellow plague.’ This is why I appreciate so much the folks who have spoken out, denounced racism and shown us love.”
Asian Americans in California have reported thousands of incidents of discrimination and harassment in since the coronavirus outbreak, including assault and civil rights violations.
Anti-Asian American attacks and harassment have been stoked by President Trump’s repeated use of the term “Kung Flu” in recent rallies and comments on Twitter scapegoating China for the Trump administration’s catastrophic failure to control the pandemic. As California Assemblymember David Chiu, Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, told the Los Angeles Times, “There’s not just a pandemic of health — there’s a pandemic of hate.”
The Washington Post recently reported that “when Trump get coronavirus, Chinese Americans pay a price.” On Twitter, in the three days after Trump announced that had tested positive for the virus, the civil rights group the Anti-Defamation League found an 85 percent spike in hostility against Asians: “The announcement [of Trump’s diagnosis] sparked thousands of online conversations blaming China for trying to purposefully infect the president.”
I am appalled by these acts of bigotry and by President Trump’s continued stoking of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian hate.
I am also appalled by the silence of Republican leaders in the face of Trump’s anti-Asian rhetoric.
Sadly, even Republican leaders who are themselves Asian, including Assemblyman Steven Choi, have refused to protest Trump’s use of the racist and anti-Asian phrase “Kung Flu” in talking about COVID-19 and have silent about the significant increase in racist attacks targeting Asians and Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I first raised the issue of the COVID-19 outbreak and incidents of discrimination, harassment, and bullying of people thought to be Chinese at the Irvine City Council meeting on more than a month ago, on March 10. I stated that we needed to do more to educate the public about how racism and xenophobia will hurt us in this crisis, and that we are all in this together.
I continue to be concerned, especially as reports increased of a surge in racially charged attacks unfairly directing blame for the pandemic on Asians and Asian Americans, while President Trump continues to insist on using the phrase “Chinese virus” or “Kong Flu” when speaking of COVID-19.
All who have witnessed or experienced anti-Asian attacks are encouraged to file a report HERE.
Reports may be made in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, Japanese, Hmong, Tagalog, Khmer, Thai and Punjabi.
If you have experienced anti-Asian bullying, harassment, hate speech, or violence in Irvine, please also contact the Irvine Police Department at 949-724-7000. In an emergency, call 911. Neither the Irvine Police Department nor the Irvine City Council will tolerate any such anti-Asian attacks or discrimination in Irvine.
Please also let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, I call on all my colleagues in elected office in Orange County, both Democratic and Republican, to join me in loudly and unequivocally condemning these acts of hatred, as well as President Trump’s continued stoking of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian hatred and bigotry by using the terms “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” in reference to COVID-19.
Pictured above: Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Katie Porter, Councilmember Andrew Rodriguez, Scott Reinhart, Congressman Alan Lowenthal, Congressman Gil Cisneros, Josh Newman, California State Controller Betty T. Yee, Councilmember Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen, Congressman Harley Rouda, City Councilmember Melissa Fox, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, Congressman Lou Correa, Congressman Mike Levin, Senator Kamala Harris, and Vice President Joe Biden.