CAPAC Chair Judy Chu and D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton Respond to Councilman Barry’s Offensive Remarks about Asian American Businesses

Apr 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, in response to disparaging remarks made by D.C. Councilman Marion Barry against Asian American-owned businesses in his Ward, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., issued these separate statements:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair:  “I am deeply disappointed in Marion Barry’s remarks which singled out Asian American owned businesses to be driven from the community.  His language is inexcusable, especially in a city as diverse as our nation’s capital. This month marks the 20 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots, in which Korean American-owned businesses were targeted and attacked because of similarly divisive racial sentiments. Councilman Barry’s comments are unbecoming of an elected official, and I urge him to pursue a more inclusive approach that appreciates the contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC):  “I learned this afternoon for the first time of the derogatory comments about Asian Americans, and I immediately picked up the phone and called Marion Barry.  We had a good conversation, and I was pleased the councilmember said that he will issue his own statement.  I was stunned by the offensive nature of the comments.  I reminded the councilmember of how long we had known each other and the values we first shared as students together in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the South fighting for racial justice.”
While speaking at a political gathering on Tuesday night, D.C. Councilman Marion Barry said, “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops.  They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”


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.