Kulkarni Covid Q5
On February 4, before there was a single confirmed case of COVID-19, Southern California experienced its first case of anti-Asian American bias related to the disease. A middle school child was physically attacked and accused of having the coronavirus by another child simply because he was Asian American. The perpetrator told the child, “Go back to China,” and when he responded that he was not Chinese, he was punched in the head twenty times on the schoolyard.
Since that incident, thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the United Stated have experienced a COVID-19-related hate incident. Fifteen hundred individuals have reported to STOP AAPI HATE, an online reporting center created by Asian Pacific Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department (SFSU). At least fifty have come from those living in Southern California.
These are extremely challenging times for all of us. They are made doubly difficult by fears about being verbally harassed while on a walk, refused service at the grocery store or being physically attacked after your emergency room shift (all actual incidents reported to us). It is all the more painful when your neighbors, co-workers and fellow students fail to support you.
Canadian physician Gabor Mate, known for his work on trauma and child development, said, “Safety is not the absence of threat, it is the presence of connection.”
AAPI community members need the support of our fellow Americans. Report discrimination to managers of businesses, to 211, to STOP AAPI HATE. When you see hateful conduct, say something. Serve as an upstander by speaking out against acts of discrimination. It is only through our combined efforts that we will conquer COVID-19 and it is only through our shared sense of community that we will prevent anti-Asian American hate.