FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10th, 2021
Washington, DC—The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) issued the following statement regarding the recent string of attacks on several Asian elders around the country, and the continued violence targeting the most vulnerable members of the Asian American community.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have witnessed a rise in violence, harassment and racism targeting the Asian American community. We applaud the leadership of local community leaders who have responded to these incidents, and join Asian Americans around the country in saying once again: this must end.
In just the past few weeks, the Asian American community has suffered the loss of Vicha Ratanapakdee, a 84-year old Thai-American, after he was killed by being shoved to the ground while walking in San Francisco. A 61-year old Filipino-American man, Noel Quintana, was cut in the face during his morning commute to work on the New York City subway. And these are only a few examples of numerous attacks which have happened since the beginning of the pandemic.
These incidents are tragic and heartbreaking, but they are not new. They are the result of the hostile, xenophobic climate created by scapegoating Asian communities for the pandemic and the product of decades of systematic neglect and structural racism. Our elders are vulnerable and isolated precisely because of issues like poverty, gentrification, housing instability, and the lack of in-language, culturally-sensitive resources. We have seen time and time again how police violence devastates Asian, Pacific Islander, Native, Muslim, Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, disabled, and many other marginalized communities. This is clear from the case of Christian Hall, a 19-year old Chinese-American adoptee, was shot and killed by police officers after they were called to respond to a mental health crisis.
We call upon our country’s leaders to make good on their past commitments to fight anti-Asian racism. Both President Biden’s Administration and Congress have condemned this racism in the past, but it has become clear that more action is necessary. To governors and locally-elected officials: listen to Asian American leaders in your communities who have been doing this work every day. We need to see tangible solutions that prioritize investing in our communities to prevent violence, both systemic and interpersonal, rather than turning towards punitive methods that rely on systems that have continued to fail us.
We are feeling the grief that is reverberating throughout Asian Americans across the country, and recognize that the pain and loss that we are experiencing is not isolated from the suffering of other communities of color. We urge our communities to turn away from the desire to increase policing or encourage vigilantism, as we must work together towards finding justice for the victims, while also coming together to heal as a country.
Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) said:
“Our hearts break for the elders who struggle not just with the physical impacts of COVID-19 but also the racism and violence that has accompanied it. We need deep healing and community care, and we demand that legislators at all levels pay attention to what is happening to AAPI communities. SEARAC condemns these attacks and will continue our work with partners like the Diverse Elders Coalition to support the elders who have supported us.”
Becky Belcore, Executive Director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) added:
“We decry the attacks that have been happening against our Asian community members in the Bay Area. These attacks are not unique and are the results of the overall racism that our community has been enduring for far too long. However, we reject any actions that call for an increase of police presence as an answer. This will only have a detrimental impact on Black community members and all communities of color in the Bay Area. Justice for our people cannot come at the expense of others. We need to hold spaces that allow for people to talk openly about racism, and we must think of solutions that are community-based and address the root causes of racism and systemic inequality.”
Linda Ng, National President of OCA —Asian Pacific Advocates added:
“In addition to recognizing the hurt that the government may have perpetuated, quick action must be taken to address the ways our communities continue to be the victims of discrimination and hate crimes, particularly related to COVID-19. President Biden’s executive order only provides a loose framework which scrapes the surface of resolving these deeply-rooted issues of xenophobia, hateful language, and direct attacks. We are waiting for the immediate establishment of these efforts in the Attorney General’s office. The time for action is now, and OCA, along with our partners, are ready to organize and engage.”
Myron Dean Quon, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA) commented:
“This past year has been especially hard for Chinese Americans/Asian Americans, with the increasing rates and visibility of anti-Asian hate incidents and discrimination. Our elders continue to be targeted based on age and xenophobia, and even our young Asian American community members have been victims of growing anti-Asian bullying. Already dealing with the mental health consequences of the extended lockdown and high rates of unemployment, this further stress of increased exposure to anti-Asian discrimination increases our risk of anxiety, depression, interpersonal violence, and addictive behaviors.”
Brendan Flores, National Chair and President of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) stated:
“The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) condemns all acts of hate-based violence, especially the recent attacks on our fellow Asian Americans in the Bay Area and New York City. Historically, anti-Asian rhetoric has existed in many forms all over the country, but the rapid increase in violence against our community during the pandemic is repugnant and unacceptable. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims in these attacks and we call upon our elected officials and community leaders to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions and to put an end to the violence.”
Richelle Concepcion, Psy.D., MPH, President and Anjuli Amin, Ph.D., President-elect of the of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) added:
“The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) unequivocally condemns the increasing hate and violence directed toward Asians and Asian Americans nationwide and most recently in northern California, which resulted in the death of one Asian American elder. These are not isolated incidents, and the atrocities committed against Asians and Asian Americans intensify the challenges that our community is already facing. The attacks on our elders are especially horrific because it reflects an intentional targeting of the most revered and also most vulnerable members of our community.”
Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, President & CEO Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) said:
“The recent incidents of hate crimes against Asian Americans are not new. And this unfortunate trend of targeted hate against our friends, families, and community leaders have turned even deadlier over the past year. When our livelihoods, our safety, and our security are threatened, there is no reason our administration should hesitate to uphold the Executive Orders and Presidential memos seeking justice for AAPIs.”
Seema Agnani, Executive Director of National Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans Community Development (National CAPACD) commented:
“The unacceptable violent attacks against our AAPI communities, especially our elders, is driven by anti-Asian discrimination that has a long-standing history in this country. These attacks demonstrate a blatant lack of respect for our communities and refusal to understand them. We hope the Administration will take these race-driven attacks seriously and urge leadership on all levels to stand firmly against all forms of violence. In these troubling times, we need community-driven solutions that will protect AAPIs by holding individuals accountable and centering the safety and well-being of all communities of color. “
Joon Bang, President & CEO of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) added:
“There is no greater form of cowardice than the act of aggression against our society’s older adults. We call on President Biden, Congress, state and local legislators to immediately advance stronger laws and call for stricter enforcement to protect our elders from hate crimes, acts of discrimination, and abuse. Preliminary data through our national COVID-19 Effects on the Mental and Physical Health of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Survey Study (COMPASS) suggests that many of the 4,000+ COMPASS participants have reported discrimination in one form or another (e.g., treated unfairly at restaurants or stores, threatened or harassed) based on their race. We need elected officials to publicly condemn those who prey upon the aging population, particularly those of AAPI descent. We also need our communities throughout the nation to take a stand against hate and alert the police when they witness crimes directed toward older adults.”
Noel Harmon, President of Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars (APIA Scholars) stated:
“The increase in anti-Asian racism and discrimination hurts students, families, and communities across the country. While this prejudice is not new by any means, it has heightened during this pandemic, with 1 in 4 Asian American youth experiencing racist bullying that disrupts their education and ability to engage with the communities around them. Anti-Asian discrimination is too often overlooked on our nation’s campuses and even tacitly endorsed by systems that refuse to disaggregate data on our diverse communities and address students’ distinct needs.”
Juliet K. Choi, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) said:
“This pandemic has had adverse effects across communities of color, and from this, emerged increased acts of hate against AAPI. However, this is not new. Acts of hate and health disparities have always had deadly consequences for communities of color. Congress and the Executive Branch must take steps to address these issues to protect our communities.”
John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC added:
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Asian and Asian American community has been on high alert as a result of increased verbal and physical attacks. It should not have taken these horrific and graphic harms against our already vulnerable elders for people to become outraged. These are the current realities of the Asian American experience, and I urge everyone to use this momentum to continue raising awareness and join us in the fight to end anti-Asian hate.”
Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) commented:
“We cannot let acts of discrimination and violence silence and intimidate Asian Americans. We continue to stand in solidarity with our fellow AAPI community groups and leaders calling on federal and local governments to protect our vulnerable communities. Our nation’s federal, state and municipal leaders must act with the urgency this crisis requires, including substantially increasing culturally-relevant and trauma-informed investments that local organizations need. Immediate action is required with so many elders preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year and other festivities this week.”
Abraham Kim, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council of Korean Americans (CKA) stated:
“These acts of violence against our communities are not isolated incidents. They stem from a persistent and false xenophobic narrative that Asian Americans are foreigners that do not belong in this country. We must focus national attention onto what is happening to our community. This is not just about getting justice, it is about creating a safe future for our families and protecting Asian Americans everywhere.”
Priya Purandare, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) commented:
“In a time where the country is trying to unify and build bridges, attacks and other acts of hate against the Asian American community have turned deadly,” said Priya Purandare, executive director of NAPABA. “Hate of any kind has no place in this country, and we call upon elected leaders across government to address and condemn this violence.”
NAPABA has established pro bono legal resources to ensure that local communities have legal resources to address the most egregious hate-fueled attacks against our community. For more information, click here.
Cindy Yu-Robinson, Executive Director of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) said:
“The National Association of Asian American Professionals unequivocally condemns the recent unprovoked attacks on elderly Asian Americans, bullying of youth in K-12 and higher education, and the escalating anti-Asian discrimination since the start of the pandemic. We want to express our sympathy to all who have suffered racist and xenophobic acts, and the fear, frustration, or injustice that surround them. NAAAP leaders will not be silent bystanders to hate crimes. We encourage the Federal, state and local authorities, the media, and all organizations, and especially members of our own community to be proactive and vocal with Asian experiences, stories, and conversations. The longer our community chooses to remain silent and invisible, the longer these acts of racism and violence will continue to ensue. ”
David Inoue, Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) stated:
“The recent high profile crimes targeting Asian Americans extend the pattern of increased hate incidents since the onset of COVID-19. Unfortunately this is nothing new and has become part of the daily experience for too many, especially many of our seniors who now live in fear. Response must come as a combination of Federal, State, and Local efforts. It is past time that Congress pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act as a step towards bringing some of the resources and coordination to support all communities of color who are the object of hate.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.