National CAPACD is Devastated by Loss of Lives in Atlanta Shootings

National CAPACD is Devastated by Loss of Lives in Atlanta Shootings

Last night, eight people were killed in a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas. Six of the eight victims were Asian American women. National CAPACD is devastated by this racially motivated and gender-based hate crime, the latest and one of the most deadly in the escalating violence against Asian Americans, particularly Asian American women. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, and our community members in Atlanta who fear for their safety. 

During this pandemic, we have witnessed an uptick in violence against Asian Americans – Stop AAPI Hate has reported about 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans in the last year. Women were the victims of 68% of these incidents. In fact, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) shared, based on new polling, that nearly half of Asian American and Pacific Islander women have been affected by anti-Asian racism in the past two years. Anti-Asian racism, fuelled by the pandemic, has brought the often silenced but longstanding history of racialized misogyny against Asian American women to the fore.   

National CAPACD implores local and national elected officials to champion policies in response to racially motivated crimes against AAPI women who are often essential workers on the front lines in a number of sectors. We will work in solidarity with our BiPOC partners to advocate for community-centered solutions that challenge hate and violence because no one in this country should fear for their lives on account of their race or gender. 

Finally, we will stand with and follow the lead of our local members in Atlanta who must hold the grief and fear of Asian American women in their communities. Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta states “During this time of crisis for our AAPI community, we call on our local and state government to provide robust and responsive crisis intervention resources, including in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services. It is time for Georgia to invest in transformative justice that begins with cross racial dialogue and community-building that address the root causes of violence and hate.”

Read AAAJ – Atlanta’s statement here.  

Read NAPAWF’s statement here.

Organizations Representing Asian American Communities Across the Nation and Allies Release Statement Rejecting Criminalization and Retribution, and Call for Responses Addressing the Root Causes of Racial Violence

Organizations Representing Asian American Communities Across the Nation and Allies Release Statement Rejecting Criminalization and Retribution, and Call for Responses Addressing the Root Causes of Racial Violence

 As a national network of local and national Asian American organizations and individuals that convened in the wake of the pandemic a year ago, we have been working together to share best practices and lessons learned from responding to anti-Asian violence.

We are horrified by the continuing acts of violence against members of our Asian American communities across the country, from New York to Oakland’s Chinatown. We stand in solidarity with the survivors, victims, and their families during this challenging moment, when fear accompanies even the most basic daily experiences. We all deserve to live without the threat of violence and to feel safe in our neighborhoods.

True safety for all must come in the form of investment and resources, not punitive measures that create division and reinforce our criminal justice system’s discriminatory structures. Many grassroots Asian American organizations, including some who are part of this network, have worked for decades as part of multiracial efforts to secure such resources for all of our communities.

The recent assaults in the Bay Area and New York come on the heels of over 3,000 acts of documented anti-Asian hate incidents last year with chilling consequences for our community members who fear violence whenever they leave their homes. There are many additional cases that are misclassified, ignored, or unreported. Going to school or the grocery store, getting a COVID-19 vaccine, or simply taking a walk should not be accompanied by fear of injury or death. However, that fear remains the reality for so many of our community members across the nation.

President Biden’s Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States is a welcome step forward to acknowledging the impact of hateful political rhetoric on our communities.

However, much more must be done at the local level and nationally to combat the vitriol unleashed by the prior Administration, that continues to this day.

The solution to violence is not more violence in the form of aggressive and discriminatory law enforcement. Instead, we need interventions and responses that address the root causes of violence and that provide culturally and linguistically sensitive services for survivors, victims, and their families.

We also call for immediate and deep investments in our communities—including access to victims’ compensation funds, language accessibility, and culturally competent mental health services. We need community ambassador programs to accompany vulnerable community members home, bystander intervention training, equitable public school history curricula, cross-racial community and solidarity building, and restorative justice programs.

All sectors must play a role. Political leaders must follow the lead of community leaders in identifying policy solutions. Philanthropy can provide immediate and long-term resources for programs within our communities and partnerships with Black and Indigenous communities. Government agencies, from the Community Relations Service at the Department of Justice to state and local level programs, must prioritize healing and trauma-informed interventions.

Disrupting and dismantling structural inequities and racism will do much more to make us safe than further criminalization and conflict. The community-centered approaches we have shared  will help us heal and more genuinely help our neighborhoods and communities become healthier, stronger, and safer.

AAPI-Led or AAPI-Serving Organizations:

18 Million Rising

AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund

AAPIs for Justice San Antonio, TX

Act To Change

Alliance of South Asians Taking Action

Asian Pacific Islanders Coalition, South Puget Sound (APIC SPS)

APIC-WA, King County Chapter

APIC-WA, King County Chapter

ASIA PACIFIC CULTURAL CENTER

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

Asian Americans For Equality

Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP)

Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington State

Asian Community Development Corporation

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Asian Economic Development Association

Asian Law Alliance

Asian Media Access

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)

Asian Pacific Community Fund

Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – South Puget Sound Chapter

Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – Spokane Chapter

Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM)

Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council

Asian Solidarity Collective

AYPAL: Building API Community Power

CAIR San Francisco Bay Area

Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Consulting

ChangeLab

Chhaya Community Development Corporation

Chinatown Community for Equitable Development

Chinatown Community Land Trust

Chinatown Service Center

Chinese American Museum of Chicago

Chinese American Service League

Chinese for Affirmative Action

Chinese-American Planning Council

Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community

Coalition of Asian American Leaders

Dr. Michael Hutchins Impact on Wildlife Fund

East King County APIC

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

Equality Labs

Faith and Community Empowerment

Filipinx for Immigrant rights & Racial justice Minnesota

Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM)

Freedom Inc

Grassroots Asians Rising

India Association of Minnesota

India Association of Western Washington

InterIm CDA

Islamic Networks Group (ING)

Japanese American Citizens League

Japanese American Citizens League – Seattle Chapter

Japanese American Citizens League, Twin Cities Chapter

Khmer Girls in Action

Korean American Coalition – Los Angeles

The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP)

Little Tokyo Service Center

ManForward

Masa

Mekong NYC

MPower Change

Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)

NAKASEC

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

National Asian Pacific Americans Against Substance Abuse

National CAPACD

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance

OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership in Ohio

Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE)

Pacific Asian Counseling Services

People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation

Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation

Philippine Study Group of MN (PSGM)

Poligon Education Fund

Raksha, inc

Release MN8

Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment

The Revolutionary Love Project

The SEAD Project

Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation & Development Authority

Seeding Change

Sewa-Aifw

Siengkane Lao MN

Sikh Coalition

Snohomish County APIC

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

South Asian Youth Action

Southeast Asian Community Alliance

TaikoArts Midwest

Thai Community Development Center

Theater Mu

Transforming Generations

Tsuru for Solidarity

United Cambodian Community

Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota

W-Isms

Allies:

Arab American Association of NY

Arab American Civic Council

Arab American Institute (AAI)

Believers Consulting LLC

CAPIUSA

Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, California State University, San Bernardino

Color of Change

Cullasaja Synergy Consulting, LLC

East Bay Democratic Socialists of America

Interfaith Alliance

Islamophobia Studies Center

Lambda Legal

Muslim Advocates

Muslim Wellness Foundation

NAACP Hollywood Bureau

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

National Council of Jewish Women

National Immigration Law Center

National Urban League

Rabbinical Assembly

Secure Justice

SolidarityIs/Building Movement Project

Support Life Foundation

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation

United We Dream

White Center Community Development Association

 

Resources:

Statement from Asian American organizations in the Bay Area

From @18million Rising, “Call on Me, Not the Cops” in Asian languages: https://18millionrising.org/2020/06/callonme.html

From APANO: A Resource Guide for AAPI Anti-HateActivists,Victims and Survivors of Hate

https://www.apano.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/PUAH-Resilience-to-Hate-Resource-Guide-3_23_20.docx.pdf

From Advancing Justice – AAJC and Hollaback! Bystander Intervention Training:

https://www.advancingjustice-aajc.org/events

From Vision Change Win: Community Safety Toolkit

https://www.visionchangewin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/VCW-Safety-Toolkit-Final.pdf

Hate Reporting Sites:

Stopaapihate.org

Standagainsthatred.org

 

National CAPACD Celebrates Historic Elections As the Country Calls for New Leadership Determined by the People

National CAPACD Celebrates Historic Elections As the Country Calls for New Leadership Determined by the People

National CAPACD’s members and partners have worked tirelessly to organize in communities around the country, implementing strategic GOTV campaigns and navigating the challenges created by COVID-19, to ensure that our communities were heard in this defining election. This week, we witnessed the results of their efforts – despite a global pandemic and deliberate efforts to undermine political participation, Americans turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots across communities throughout the country. Though votes are still being counted, the 2020 voter turnout is projected to be the highest in over a century. This unprecedented engagement signals our collective will for new leadership that responds to the urgent challenges of our times.

Earlier today, election results determined former Vice President Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. National CAPACD congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, the first Black and South Asian woman to hold office at the highest level of our government. Despite attempts to undermine the results by calling to question the integrity of our voting systems, we applaud the efforts of election officials to uphold our democracy by ensuring every vote is counted accurately, fairly, and securely. It is not the government that chooses its voters; it is the voters who choose their government – a government by, and for, the people.

National CAPACD also celebrates progressive wins on the national level, as well as up and down the ballot during this election, demonstrating the growing power of our movement. We saw the reelection of “the Squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN- 5), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13). In addition, Sarah McBride is set to become the first transgender senator in U.S. history, Cori Bush will become the first Black congresswoman in Missouri, and Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones will become the first LGBTQ+ Black members of Congress. We look forward to working with these leaders and the next Administration on progressive solutions that reach us all, particularly those whose rights were stripped and very existence endangered by the current Administration.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “The next Administration has an immense opportunity and responsibility to heal the divisions in this country. We are ready to move forward together to make this country a place where all of our communities can thrive. This election, like so many before it, attests to the undeniable power of targeted outreach in and cultivating relationships with communities of color, who often serve as voting blocs that can change the course of an election. We will wield this power to hold our elected officials accountable, pushing for policies that lift up all communities and move us towards a more just and equitable society.”

Coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Organizations Oppose Efforts to Roll Back Fair Housing Gains

Coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Organizations Oppose Efforts to Roll Back Fair Housing Gains

We strongly oppose Secretary Carson’s decision to terminate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (AFFH), a critical provision that combated discrimination in localities and publicly funded housing agencies. Low-income communities of color were already facing monumental challenges in accessing affordable homes even before the economic downturn caused by COVID-19; with some estimates suggesting that as many as 28 million people could be evicted in the coming months, the elimination of the provision only exacerbates the looming homelessness and housing crisis. The AFFH rule was a historic step in not only preventing racial and other forms of discrimination, but also, in proactively allowing those most marginalized by years of inequity, to have a voice in shaping policy at the local level.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to amplify the grave disparities and structural racism that exists in our country’s housing system,” said Seema Agnani, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. “Yesterday’s decision further amplifies this Administration’s lack of respect and care for the American people and its commitment to exclude people of color and marginalized communities from housing and other critical government services.  This decision is particularly harmful in the context of the current political moment – the nation coming together to demand an end to systemic racism.”

NCAPA National Director Gregg Orton stated, “The Trump Administration trying to hide the truth of their decision in the headline of their press release tells you everything you need to know: terminating a fair housing rule is a bad headline—they knew it—so they threw in the rule’s acronym to try and hide it.

This also follows the mind-numbing and maddening pattern that has defined their response to the COVID-19 crisis: make things worse. When faced with a public health crisis, they wanted to take healthcare away from Americans. Now, with millions of Americans facing economic uncertainty, a direct result of their failure to address the pandemic responsibly, they want to undercut housing protections.”

National CAPACD Opposes HUD’s Proposed Anti-Transgender Rule

National CAPACD Opposes HUD’s Proposed Anti-Transgender Rule

On July 1st, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced proposed changes to its 2016 Equal Access Rule, which would allow HUD-funded housing providers to discriminate against transgender people seeking shelter. This proposed rule change advances the current Administration’s transphobic agenda and emboldens those who wish to harm the transgender community, particularly trans women and trans people of color, who are already disproportionately at risk of housing insecurity.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “HUD’s proposed rule change is not only discriminatory, but also dangerous and particularly callous given the current crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of access to safe shelter increases the risk of exposure in shared living spaces. Housing is a human right, not a benefit conditioned on sexual orientation or gender identity. National CAPACD stands with our transgender family in these difficult times, and we are committed to always advocating for gender justice in housing.”

National CAPACD’s partners have launched the Housing Saves Lives campaign to oppose HUD’s anti-transgender rule. Visit the campaign page to learn more, access templates once the 60-day comment period opens, and stay updated.

National CAPACD Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Uphold DACA & Protect Immigrants

National CAPACD Applauds Supreme Court Decision
to Uphold DACA & Protect Immigrants

Earlier today, the US Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, to allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to continue for the time being, upholding the rights of over 800,000 young immigrants and their families to live in this country without fear or distress. National CAPACD applauds the Supreme Court’s decision, which challenges the Administration’s xenophobic agenda by stating that the Administration’s attempt to terminate the DACA program was “arbitrary and capricious.” We know that this decision does not permanently protect the DACA program, nor is the program on its own sufficient to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Nonetheless, we are encouraged by this victory, which affirms the millions of immigrants who lend their presence, labor, and service to make this country better with little to no return for their contributions.

The DACA victory today comes on the heels of a landmark 6-3 Supreme Court decision earlier this week that states lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) people cannot be fired or discriminated against in the workplace under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. This decision establishes legal protections and precedent for millions of LGBTQ people to navigate the workplace free from discrimination, and affirms their right to dignity and respect.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “We have witnessed the tragedies of our broken system far too often, a system intentionally designed to fail Black communities and leave our communities behind. In the last few weeks, we have been called to show up for Black communities, confront our complicity, and challenge our broken system – and to do this while continuing to support our communities hard hit by COVID-19. The Supreme Court decisions this week are a testament to the power of our collective movement to win meaningful, intersectional change for our communities. Today’s win comes on the eve of Juneteenth, reminding us that we cannot afford to be distracted or divided any longer – these wins only deepen our mandate to show up for one another. We will continue to advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform; challenge discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; demand that all #BlackLivesMatter; and push for policies that rebuild our system to be equitable and just.”

Today, National CAPACD celebrates our members, partners, and allies for their tremendous advocacy and organizing to protect DACA, and their unwavering commitment to the millions of immigrants who call the United States their home. National CAPACD looks to Congress now to push forward a permanent pathway to citizenship for all immigrants.

National CAPACD Demands Justice for George Floyd

National CAPACD Demands Justice for George Floyd

With the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor still fresh on our minds, National CAPACD is heartbroken by the violent and senseless death of George Floyd. On May 25, 2020, George was pinned to the ground by a police officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, choked until he could no longer breathe, and ultimately killed. Footage of the incident affirms the presence of third parties who could have intervened on behalf of George, and instead chose to stay complicit. Like so many before them, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd lost their lives to police brutality born from a deeply racist system that criminalizes black bodies.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states, “We are in the final days of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. As we reflect on our histories and celebrate our contributions, our friends and allies in the black community fear for their lives. The challenges of COVID-19 have reminded us of our collective responsibility to support one another and ensure each other’s safety. We must commit to acknowledging, confronting, and dismantling complicity and racism within our own AAPI communities. Again and again, we must repeat: #BlackLivesMatter. That is the heritage we should leave behind for our children to celebrate.”

National CAPACD calls on our members and allies to act against the horrifying injustices that black communities face. We must work together to ensure that black people have the right to exist in this country without constant fear for their lives. Here are some things you can do to demand justice:

National CAPACD Urges Senate to Act Swiftly for Renters

National CAPACD Urges Senate to Act Swiftly for Renters

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the next coronavirus relief bill, the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES)” Act. The bill includes several provisions to provide relief and stabilize housing for struggling renters, including provisions from the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act. National CAPACD applauds efforts to protect renters hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and urges the Senate to move expediently and expand these provisions to be inclusive of all low-income renters.

Prior to the pandemic, rental housing in most US metropolitan areas was characterized by rapidly rising rents and the net loss of affordable housing. The coronavirus has alarmingly exacerbated an already dire housing crisis. As of May 1, there were 26 metropolitan areas with over 5,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. These metropolitan areas represent some of the highest cost rental markets in the US, with over 50 million people who live in rental housing. Millions of people who have lost their jobs or income can no longer pay rent and fear the threat of eviction. Delays in providing relief to renters is unconscionable; those already struggling in these deeply uncertain times should not be further burdened by housing insecurity. Furthermore, housing, public health, and the economy are inextricably connected – millions of renters losing their homes at this time constitutes a public health and economic disaster.

Supporting renters is a racial justice issue. The majority, or 53 percent, of households headed by people of color are renters, while only 28 percent of non-Hispanic white households are renters. The vast majority (73 percent) of low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) live in the highest cost cities – many of which are also coronavirus hotspots. We are already witnesses to the racial disparities in the impact of the coronavirus on the lives of Americans – our leadership has the opportunity to relieve some of the dramatically disproportionate burden on communities of color in this moment.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “If relief and recovery are to be effective, the benefits need to reach all renters, with particular sensitivity to those who are most vulnerable. Many of our city’s residents have been forced to live in informal or overcrowded conditions due to the extreme housing cost burden. Meaningful long-term solutions should include rent relief for everyone who needs it and long-term solutions for those in our society who are most at risk of homelessness. This means provisions that address structural racial disparities in the recovery planning, including the allocation of significant resources for nonprofit affordable housing developers and owners in order to preserve and expand the stock of high-quality affordable housing across our cities and communities.”

The Senate must act without delay for renters. National CAPACD hopes that they will adopt provisions that provide assistance and protections to all renters in need of support in this crisis, including immigrants, communities of color, and LEP populations. Our leadership must ensure the economic stability of the people that they are in place to protect, and we would be remiss if we did not remind them of this responsibility as millions of renters across the country look toward June 1st with concern and uncertainty.

National CAPACD Supports Legislation to Cancel Rent & Protect Tenants

National CAPACD Supports Legislation to Cancel Rent & Protect Tenants

Last Friday, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill which calls for the nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis (including one month after the official lift of the national emergency). The proposed legislation provides hope in otherwise deeply grim circumstances – 31% of Americans were unable to pay rent at the start of this month, and many more will be unable to do so as millions continue to lose their jobs. The bill moves beyond a call for moratoriums, and instead would constitute full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history. Landlords and mortgage holders would be able to cover their losses from a relief fund instituted by the federal government.

National CAPACD applauds Representative Omar’s bill, and urges Members of Congress to act swiftly to support tenants so that the current crisis does not further economically cripple the most vulnerable members of our country, as past crises have done. National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states, “Challenged by an Administration that is using our current crisis as a smokescreen to perpetuate a xenophobic agenda while cursorily addressing the real challenges, National CAPACD is encouraged by Representative Omar’s proposed legislation – it puts tenants first, and shifts the burden of accessing relief to the landlord. Current solutions offered under the CARES Act are not strong enough, and programs such as a universal voucher would likely leave many tenants without relief. Her efforts are a shining example of responsible leadership that rises to address a reality that the COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear – health, economic security, and housing are inextricably connected.”

National CAPACD is particularly concerned because we know all too well that the COVID-19 pandemic did not create a housing crisis; instead, it is exacerbating an existing housing crisis that disproportionately impacts communities of color, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Through data and anecdotal examples, we know that AAPIs are also disportionately impacted by the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.The majority of low-income AAPIs are concentrated in densely populated urban areas and those most impacted by COVID-19 – with over 73 percent of AAPIs in poverty living in high housing cost metropolitan areas.

Members of the #OurNeighborhoods network speak to the growing need to #CancelRent for our communities:

Rebecca Garcia, a youth member at the Southeast Asian Community Alliance in Los Angeles shares, “Rent should be canceled during COVID-19 because people are losing their jobs, including my sister and brother, or getting less hours, including my father. We shouldn’t have to choose whether we eat or have a roof over our heads… I am 14 years of age and I know that it is outrageous to ask us to pay rent. Rent has to be canceled in order for many families to survive during this crisis.”

Cui Guo (房) Fang, a CAAAV Asian Tenants Union member, shared, “I was a homecare worker, and my husband was a worker at a senior center. I stopped working last June because my hip was injured. My husband was laid off two weeks ago… If I pay this month, what will I do next month? We have no idea when the situation will get better. We are both 63. It’s hard to find another job. We must face the current reality; at this time, we have no more money to give. The government must let us live. Our demand is to #CancelRent.”

Across these experiences from the ground, there is a common moral imperative; the government should not put its people in a position where they must choose between their next meal and their next month’s rent. There is an opportunity, in these otherwise troubling times, to come up with transformative solutions for housing challenges that have impact well beyond this moment.

 

 

In Response to Xenophobia Fueled by Coronavirus Epidemic, National CAPACD Stands with Chinatown Businesses

In Response to Xenophobia Fueled by Coronavirus Epidemic,
National CAPACD Stands with Chinatown Businesses

National CAPACD is deeply troubled by the rise of hate crimes and rhetoric and economic loss, fueled by xenophobia, in response to the coronavirus epidemic. While the coronavirus epidemic is undeniably a public health concern, it is inaccurate and dangerous to direct fear toward the Asian American community. From physical attacks on young children to discrimination when seeking services, we are once again witnessing the phenomenon of “Yellow Peril,” that traces back to the anti-Asian prejudices and policies of the 19th century. Too often and too easily, Asian Americans have been dehumanized and served as targets of mass hysteria. The harm done to Asian American communities runs far deeper than the transient source of hysteria.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani states “The Lunar New Year is typically one of the busiest times of year for Asian American businesses. This year, we have heard from many of our members that restaurants and stores in Chinatowns across the country were and continue to be empty – some businesses are being vandalized. These small businesses are the primary source of livelihood for many low-income Asian Americans already struggling to provide for their families. They are also what give many of our cities their unique character that attracts visitors and stimulates economic activity.  Our country is guilty of consistently relying on Asian Americans for their contributions to #OurNeighborhoods and simultaneously avert responsibility to challenge harmful xenophobic rhetoric that impacts their ability to exist in this country without fear or concern.”

Duncan Hwang, Associate Director of Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), stated “With any public health issue, the most important thing to do is follow the advice of trusted public health authorities. Viruses know no nationality, and hate or fear won’t keep us safe. During any uncertain time, it’s critical that the community come together and support each other by getting accurate information and uniting against any form of discrimination.”

Jessie Lee, managing director of Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) stated “Unfounded fears about coronavirus have hit our immigrant small businesses from Manhattan’s Chinatown to Flushing to Sunset Park, jeopardizing cherished mom-and-pop restaurants and retail stores dependent on tourist dollars. It is important to debunk damaging myths about coronavirus, but it’s even more critical that we back up our words with firm commitments to support struggling businesses through access to affordable capital and in-language, culturally relevant technical assistance. Immigrant small businesses are not only the heart and soul of our communities, but they are the engine driving job creation in neighborhoods across New York City.”

Small businesses in Chinatown and other Asian American Pacific Islander districts are the cultural character and anchor of #OurNeighborhoods. National CAPACD implores our network to support these businesses and dispel misguided fears. We are inspired by local efforts to organize against misinformation and fear mongering, such as the Association of Chinese Americans (ACA) formation of the Covid-19 Relief Community Education Committee in Detroit.

We invite our network to learn more about the impact and needs of AAPI small businesses, particularly those served by our member organizations, in our 2019 report, Small Business, Big Dreams.