By Sylvia Chi, Balvinder Kumar and Andrea Lum
We are grateful to the Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association at CSU East Bay for their guidance and for sharing the list of resources and information in this article. For more information about APIFSA, visit their webpage.
Deadline: Now and always –
COVID-19 has affected our East Bay community as it has affected the entire world. The best tools at our disposal right now – as so often! – are kindness, compassion and support. The virus is doing the least damage where communities are working most strongly together.
It may seem at this time that we’re all equally threatened, but we know that many Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities (and for the authors, that means our communities) and individuals have been particularly at risk – not just from disease but from racism and xenophobia as we are unfairly and outrageously blamed for the coronavirus.
We have faced these dehumanizing attacks when we are with our children in the grocery store or when our grandparents are walking in the neighborhood. Many Asian Americans are experiencing increased anxiety about simply showing our faces in public. The problem is magnified when our concerns are dismissed or minimized – as they frequently are.
Like racism against black, Latinx, and Indigenous people, anti-Asian discrimination and hate have been a part of the American experience for centuries. But although they are nothing new, racist attacks have been the bread and butter of the Trump Administration, and the rhetoric used by the President and his allies only further endangers our communities and bolsters the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype.
Indivisible East Bay stands strongly against all forms of racism, at all times, and we stand with AAPI communities locally and worldwide, both as an ally and as an organization with AAPI members, team leaders and Governance Committee members.
During this time of social distancing, there will be no rallies or gatherings, but there are still things that we and you can do to make sure that the shameful anti-Asian events of history do not repeat themselves on our watch:
- Support and follow organizations such as Asian American Journalists Association, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Organization of Chinese Americans, or Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus
- If you speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Lao, Khmu, or Mien, consider volunteering to phonebank from your home with Asian Pacific Environmental Network to provide reliable information and resources about COVID-19 to our communities
- Share anti-racist posts in your social media and uplift the voices and stories of Asian Americans
- Don’t use nicknames – call the virus by its scientific name Coronavirus or COVID-19
- Educate yourself and others and learn how to be an advocate: check out the articles and tools in the next section
- Report incidents of bigotry at Stop AAPI Hate and/or Stand Against Hatred. The FBI has warned against a rise in hate crimes and data collection can help ensure these incidents are taken seriously. You do not have to be a member of an AAPI community to report an incident that you have witnessed.
- ABC7 Town Hall: Race and Coronavirus, A Bay Area Conversation
- The People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation Presents: A Town Hall on Anti Asian Racism, Race, Struggle and Solidarity in the Time of a Global Pandemic
- How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism
- Protecting Asian American and Pacific Islander Working People
- Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus
- Asian American Feminist Antibodies: Care in the Time of Coronavirus
Quick guidelines, printable brochures:
Report Racist Incidents: The FBI has warned against a rise in hate crimes and data collection can help ensure these incidents are taken seriously. You do not have to be a member of an AAPI community to report an incident that you have witnessed. Report incidents of bigotry at:
- Self care advice for Asian Americans
- Anxiety Management Tips and Resources for Covid-19
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
- How to Meditate Outdoors
If you have a concern or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please refer to the CDC guidelines for more information and next steps.
Sylvia Chi is the Policy Director for Asian Pacific Environmental Network and lives in Oakland.
Balvinder Kumar serves students in her professional life at Cal State East Bay as an Administrator. Her passion lies in volunteering with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District’s Council addressing diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Andrea Lum works in higher education by day and as the Volunteer Coordinator for IEB by night.
Ann G. Daniels contributed to this article.