CAPAC Applauds Introduction of Resolution to Denounce Anti-Asian Discrimination Caused by COVID-19

Mar 25, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to rising anti-Asian sentiment caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), who serves as the First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), introduced a resolution to denounce anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19. CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and CAPAC First Vice Chair Meng released the following statements:

“Global health experts from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned against associating a disease with a geographic region or ethnicity due to the stigma it causes. Despite these warnings, we have seen President Trump and other Republican leaders fan the flames of xenophobia by repeatedly referring to COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘China virus,’ and ‘Wuhan virus,’” said Rep. Chu.  “Unfortunately, this inflammatory rhetoric has led to an unprecedented number of attacks on Asian Americans and Asian-owned businesses all across the country. This is a danger we must speak out against, and it is why I am grateful to Rep. Meng for introducing this important resolution. Stoking anti-Asian bigotry and xenophobia does nothing to help our nation's disaster response efforts. This is the time to come together, and we will not allow Asians and Asian Americans to be used as scapegoats for this global pandemic.”

“The increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric, particularly from our nation’s leaders such as the President, and their use of terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ is not only irresponsible, reckless, and downright disgusting, it threatens the safety of the Asian American community; such language demeans, disparages, and scapegoats Asian Americans,” said Rep. Meng. “Asian Americans, like millions of others across the nation, are worried about the coronavirus; however, so many Asian Americans are also living in fear following the dramatic increase of threats and attacks against those of Asian descent. During this time of heightened anxiety and fear surrounding COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of protecting the health and safety of every single person – no matter their race, ethnicity, or background. The House must take a strong stand against the sickening intolerance, bigotry, and violence that is leaving a terrible stain on our nation’s history, especially during this moment of an unprecedented public health crisis. I am grateful to my colleagues who introduced this resolution with me today, and for joining me in saying loud and clear: xenophobia and discrimination is absolutely unacceptable. I strongly urge all of my House of Representatives colleagues, to support this measure, and its passage.”

The resolution has 124 cosponsors. They include: Reps. Chu, Pressley, Castro, Pascrell, Malinowski, Speier, Watson Coleman, Brown, Takano, Cisneros, Schakowsky, Velázquez, Pingree, Lieu, Napolitano, Correa, Haaland, Huffman, Torres, Blumenauer, Fudge, Cárdenas, Omar, Schrader, Moulton, Suozzi, Lynch, Dingell, Connolly, Case, A. Green, Bonamici, Trone, C. Maloney, Khanna, McGovern, Thompson (CA), Larson, Foster, E. Johnson, Jayapal, Kilmer, Jackson Lee, Lofgren, Porter, Raskin, Lowenthal, DelBene, Castor, Jeffries, Trahan, Smith (WA), Rose, Beyer, Rouda, Costa, Serrano, DeFazio, Krishnamoorthi, Ocasio-Cortez, Cicilline, Kim, Sanchez, Soto, Bustos, McCollum, Pocan, Welch, Sablan, Schiff, Larsen, Higgins, Yarmuth, McEachin, DeLauro, Quigley, Clark, Grijalva, DeGette, Engel, Butterfield, Rush, Deutch, Allred, Eshoo, S. Maloney, Kennedy, D. Davis, Bass, Boyle, Nadler, Lee (CA), Norton, Lewis, Mucarsel-Powell, Bishop, Evans, “Chuy” García, Schneider, Horsford, Carson, Wild, Tlaib, Casten, Craig, Frankel, Meeks, Brownley, Spanberger, Wexton, Vargas, S. Garcia, Hastings, Escobar, Cohen, Vargas, Sherman, Waters, McNerney, Cox, McNerney, Lawrence, Tlaib, and Gallego.  

The text of the resolution is below, and a copy of the measure can be viewed here.

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Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19 

Whereas 23,000,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders account for 7 percent of the nation's population in the United States;

Whereas over 2,000,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are working on the frontlines of this COVID-19 pandemic in health care, law enforcement, first responders, transportation, supermarkets, and other service industries;

Whereas the use of anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric related to COVID-19, such as the “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-flu,” have perpetuated anti-Asian stigma;

Whereas since January 2020, there has been a dramatic increase in reports of hate crimes and incidents against those of Asian descent; 

Whereas according to a recent study, there were over 400 cases related to COVID-19 anti-Asian discrimination between February 9, 2020 and March 7, 2020;

Whereas the increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric has resulted in Asian Americans being harassed, assaulted, and scapegoated for the COVID-19 pandemic;

Whereas as of March 2020, anti-Asian violence includes: a woman wearing a mask was kicked and punched at a New York City subway station; two children and two adults were stabbed at a wholesale grocery in Midland, Texas; a couple was assaulted and robbed by a group of attackers in Philadelphia; and a 16-year-old boy was sent to the hospital after being attacked by bullies in Los Angeles, California;

Whereas the increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric has also resulted in Asian American businesses being targeted for vandalism;

Whereas there are approximately 2 million Asian American-owned businesses that generate over $700 billion in annual revenue and employ nearly 4.5 million workers;

Whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize that naming COVID-19 by its geographic location or linking it to a specific ethnicity perpetuates stigma;

Whereas in 2015, the WHO issued guidance calling on media outlets, scientists and national authorities to avoid naming infectious diseases for locations to avoid stigmatizing groups of people;

Whereas on February 27, 2020, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated “ethnicity is not what causes the novel coronavirus” and that it is inappropriate and inaccurate to call COVID-19 the “Chinese virus;”

Whereas on February 28, 2020, Dr. Mitch Wolfe, the Chief Medical Officer of the CDC said, “Stigma is the enemy of public health;”

Whereas on March 10, 2020, Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the CDC, testified that use of the term “Chinese coronavirus” is wrong and inappropriate; and

Whereas the United Nations Secretary-General called for international solidarity and an end to any ill-founded discrimination of the outbreak’s victims: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

  1. calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form;
  2. recognizes that the health and safety of all Americans, no matter their background, must be of utmost priority;
  3. condemns all manifestations of expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance;
  4. calls on Federal law enforcement officials, working with State and local officials—

(A) to expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes and incidents and threats against the Asian American community in the United States;

(B) to collect data to document the rise of incidences of hate crimes due to COVID-19; and

(C) to hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice.

  1. recommits United States leadership in building more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant societies—

(A) to prioritize language access and inclusivity in communication practices; and

(B) to combat misinformation and discrimination that put Asian Americans at risk.

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.