News

Supervisors denounce xenophobia as Asian American groups report more harassment

Organizations have reported more than 650 incidents targeting Asian Americans in one week in late March

Responding to a reported increase in violence and harassment aimed at Asian American residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County on Tuesday passed a resolution denouncing xenophobia and pledging to work with police agencies to curb hate crimes.

The unanimous vote came at the urging of board President Cindy Chavez, who called the resolution "an opportunity for us to show solidarity with our Asian American community partners during COVID-19, when we've seen hate rise against the API (Asian Pacific Islander) community."

Russell Jeung, chairman and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, was among those urging the board to pass the resolution. Jeung launched on March 19 an online reporting center that monitors anti-Asian coronavirus discrimination. In the first two weeks, he wrote to the board, his group has received 21 incidents from San Jose alone, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault.

"We've found that political rhetoric can incite hatred and violence," wrote Jeung, who was joined in the effort by the nonprofit Chinese for Affirmative Action and Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council. "This resolution is needed to curtail the inflammatory language used by politicians and media, and to encourage the residents of Santa Clara County to resist hatred and bigotry."

The resolution alludes to – and formally distances the county from – the recent description of COVID-19 by President Donald Trump and members of his administration as a "Chinese virus." The term has been denounced by Asian American groups for provoking racism and retaliation against Asian Americans, Chavez wrote in her memo.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Chavez noted that in the first week after the reporting center was launched, there had been more than 650 incidents of verbal harassment, shunning and physical assault aimed at Asian American residents. She called the trend "disheartening."

"The behavior reported and the volume of incoming hate reports is really unacceptable," Chavez said at Tuesday's meeting.

Supervisor Joe Simitian said the conversation about xenophobia is particularly disheartening because "millions of people around the Bay Area, around the state and around the country have stepped up in such extraordinary ways during a very difficult time and have really let their best selves step forward."

"The contrast between that kind of behavior and the behavior that we are calling out here is particularly stark and striking," Simitian said. "You'd like to think that we wouldn't even need to say this, but the reports indicate pretty clearly that we do."

Eddie Chan, president and CEO of North East Medical Services, a nonprofit that operates 12 health clinics throughout the Bay Area, reported to the board that patients and staff at the clinics have "not been immune to the rise in racial discrimination and harassment against Asian Americans."

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

The use of the terms "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus," Chan wrote, has "caused some patients and staff to feel attacked or disempowered, and many patients have shared experiences with staff where they feel targeted, disenfranchised and anxious."

"For instance, one patient experienced a man yelling at him to 'go back to China and take the virus back with you,' and 'it's all your fault.' We have seen first-hand how elderly, immigrant community members are targeted for this type of violence, and it has no place in our community," Chan wrote.

Numerous civic organizations, including Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) and the San Jose chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, applauded the resolution. Marsha Fong, board chairwoman at AACI, wrote in a letter that her organization is "appalled by the anti-Asian rhetoric and scapegoating of immigrant groups as a result of this crisis."

"Hate crimes and attacks against the very communities AACI fights to serve and protect are attacks against us all and must be publicly denounced," Fong wrote.

Dolores Alvarado, CEO of Community Health Partnership, also submitted a letter endorsing the county's resolution. Racist rhetoric from the highest level of government "has put a target on the backs of anyone appearing to be Asian," she wrote.

"Verbal and physical violence against Asians has created an environment of danger and fear among a community that represents nearly 38% of this county's population," Alvarado wrote to the board. "Additionally, a large percentage of our county's health care providers and frontline responders to the COVID pandemic are Asian and creating an unsafe atmosphere among our health care heroes, of all ethnicities, is simply dangerous and unacceptable."

In distress over COVID-19? There is help.

Anyone who is experiencing depression or heightened anxiety because of the public health crisis can find help through local resources:

In Santa Clara County:

• 24/7 Behavioral Health Services Department Call Center: 800-704-0900.

• Crisis Text Line: Text RENEW to 741741.

• 24/7 Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 855-278-4204.

• If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.

In San Mateo County:

• Behavioral Health Services & Resources - 24/7

• Access Call Center - Toll-free number: 800-686-0101 | For the hearing impaired: 800-943-2833.

• If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.

For seniors, people with disabilities: The Institute on Aging has a Friendship Line for people ages 60 and older and adults with disabilities who feel isolated: 800-971-0016.

For youth: A list of local resources for young people who need mental health support, as well as their family and friends, can be found here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Supervisors denounce xenophobia as Asian American groups report more harassment

Organizations have reported more than 650 incidents targeting Asian Americans in one week in late March

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 1:31 pm

Responding to a reported increase in violence and harassment aimed at Asian American residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County on Tuesday passed a resolution denouncing xenophobia and pledging to work with police agencies to curb hate crimes.

The unanimous vote came at the urging of board President Cindy Chavez, who called the resolution "an opportunity for us to show solidarity with our Asian American community partners during COVID-19, when we've seen hate rise against the API (Asian Pacific Islander) community."

Russell Jeung, chairman and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, was among those urging the board to pass the resolution. Jeung launched on March 19 an online reporting center that monitors anti-Asian coronavirus discrimination. In the first two weeks, he wrote to the board, his group has received 21 incidents from San Jose alone, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault.

"We've found that political rhetoric can incite hatred and violence," wrote Jeung, who was joined in the effort by the nonprofit Chinese for Affirmative Action and Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council. "This resolution is needed to curtail the inflammatory language used by politicians and media, and to encourage the residents of Santa Clara County to resist hatred and bigotry."

The resolution alludes to – and formally distances the county from – the recent description of COVID-19 by President Donald Trump and members of his administration as a "Chinese virus." The term has been denounced by Asian American groups for provoking racism and retaliation against Asian Americans, Chavez wrote in her memo.

Chavez noted that in the first week after the reporting center was launched, there had been more than 650 incidents of verbal harassment, shunning and physical assault aimed at Asian American residents. She called the trend "disheartening."

"The behavior reported and the volume of incoming hate reports is really unacceptable," Chavez said at Tuesday's meeting.

Supervisor Joe Simitian said the conversation about xenophobia is particularly disheartening because "millions of people around the Bay Area, around the state and around the country have stepped up in such extraordinary ways during a very difficult time and have really let their best selves step forward."

"The contrast between that kind of behavior and the behavior that we are calling out here is particularly stark and striking," Simitian said. "You'd like to think that we wouldn't even need to say this, but the reports indicate pretty clearly that we do."

Eddie Chan, president and CEO of North East Medical Services, a nonprofit that operates 12 health clinics throughout the Bay Area, reported to the board that patients and staff at the clinics have "not been immune to the rise in racial discrimination and harassment against Asian Americans."

The use of the terms "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus," Chan wrote, has "caused some patients and staff to feel attacked or disempowered, and many patients have shared experiences with staff where they feel targeted, disenfranchised and anxious."

"For instance, one patient experienced a man yelling at him to 'go back to China and take the virus back with you,' and 'it's all your fault.' We have seen first-hand how elderly, immigrant community members are targeted for this type of violence, and it has no place in our community," Chan wrote.

Numerous civic organizations, including Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) and the San Jose chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, applauded the resolution. Marsha Fong, board chairwoman at AACI, wrote in a letter that her organization is "appalled by the anti-Asian rhetoric and scapegoating of immigrant groups as a result of this crisis."

"Hate crimes and attacks against the very communities AACI fights to serve and protect are attacks against us all and must be publicly denounced," Fong wrote.

Dolores Alvarado, CEO of Community Health Partnership, also submitted a letter endorsing the county's resolution. Racist rhetoric from the highest level of government "has put a target on the backs of anyone appearing to be Asian," she wrote.

"Verbal and physical violence against Asians has created an environment of danger and fear among a community that represents nearly 38% of this county's population," Alvarado wrote to the board. "Additionally, a large percentage of our county's health care providers and frontline responders to the COVID pandemic are Asian and creating an unsafe atmosphere among our health care heroes, of all ethnicities, is simply dangerous and unacceptable."

In distress over COVID-19? There is help.

Anyone who is experiencing depression or heightened anxiety because of the public health crisis can find help through local resources:

In Santa Clara County:

• 24/7 Behavioral Health Services Department Call Center: 800-704-0900.

• Crisis Text Line: Text RENEW to 741741.

• 24/7 Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 855-278-4204.

• If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.

In San Mateo County:

• Behavioral Health Services & Resources - 24/7

• Access Call Center - Toll-free number: 800-686-0101 | For the hearing impaired: 800-943-2833.

• If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.

For seniors, people with disabilities: The Institute on Aging has a Friendship Line for people ages 60 and older and adults with disabilities who feel isolated: 800-971-0016.

For youth: A list of local resources for young people who need mental health support, as well as their family and friends, can be found here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Robyn
another community
on Apr 8, 2020 at 3:15 pm
Robyn, another community
on Apr 8, 2020 at 3:15 pm
1 person likes this

Our DA has made a youtube video on the subject.
Web Link
Feel free to share the link.
Stay Safe.


Robyn
another community
on Apr 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Robyn, another community
on Apr 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm
1 person likes this

The link did not work just now. I am sorry about that.
It sends a powerful message.
Maybe it will be on TV.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.