TWENTY SIX governors, as well as several former Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) government officials, have denounced the disturbing rise in assaults and harassment toward the AAPI community in the United States.
Governors from 26 states and territories on March 26 issued a joint statement calling for solidarity with AAPIs and condemning the recent string of brutal racism against the community, particularly elderly Asians.
“As governors, we take pride in protecting the people of our states and territories,” the governors’ letter read, acknowledging the long history of anti-Asian social norms and policy in the U.S.
Today, and everyday, we stand in solidarity, in support, and in shared resolve with the Asian American community.
— Governor John Carney (@JohnCarneyDE) March 26, 2021
“From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II to the mistreatments of Muslims and Sikhs after 9/11, this year is part of a history of racism against the Asian American community,” the letter continued.
The 26 governors who signed the letter include Govs. Gavin Newsom of California, Steve Sisolak of Nevada, Lourdes Leon Guerrero of Guam, David Ige of Hawaii, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York.
On the same day that the governors’ letter was released, a group of more than 70 AAPI former senior officials issued a “bipartisan call” to action to current state, local and federal government officials to address the “dramatic rise” of violence, rhetoric and discrimination toward the AAPI community.
“For all of us, it has been a great honor and privilege to serve the American public at the highest levels of the federal government, working for both Republicans and Democrats. What is currently happening in our country is alarming, and it requires that we all stand in solidarity to protect and support the AAPI community,” the coalition of former officials wrote in the letter.
Among the officials who signed the letter included several Filipino Americans: Lelaine Bigelow, former deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs in the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Irene Bueno, former special assistant to the president; Nani Coloretti, former deputy secretary of HUD; Eddy Badrina former executive director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs (WHIAAPI); Cesar Conda, former assistant to Florida senator Marco Rubio; Vic Mercado, former assistant secretary at the Dept. of Defense; Joyce Meyer, former deputy chief of staff to former House Speaker Paul Ryan; Rudy Pamintuan, former chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs; and Francey Lim Youngberg, former deputy assistant at HUD.
“We call on our political leaders to: denounce violence and hateful rhetoric against AAPIs; to work with local, state, and national leaders and law enforcement agencies to better protect AAPIs; and to pass and fund legislation that will better support the needs of the AAPI community,” the former officials’ letter read.
As extensively covered in the Asian Journal, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 brought forth an concerning uptick in harassment, bias and violence against members of the massive AAPI community.
According to the social organization Stop AAPI Hate, which has been tracking reported incidents of anti-Asian hate, 2020 brought forth a 150% increase in hate incidents and hate crimes against the AAPI community. More than 3,800 self-reported incidents have been documented of which 66% of the victims were women.
Many of the early incidents included bullying, racial epithets, verbal abuse and online harassment with a few violent incidents. But the last three months have seen a spike in incidents involving physical violence, including death.
The AAPI officials’ letter remarked on the duality of anti-Asian hate and the fact that a large chunk of frontliners battling the COVID-19 pandemic in America are AAPIs.
“Today, an estimated two million AAPIs serve on the front lines of our country’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic as healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers, and other essential roles,” the letter read. “They risk their lives every day to save fellow Americans, but even they are not immune to this kind of bias and hate.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)