Harris, Duckworth, Hirono to Introduce Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Racism Prompted by COVID-19

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Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois

WASHINGTON – Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) on Thursday announced their plan to introduce a resolution condemning discrimination against Asian Americans and Asian immigrants caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recent reports show anti-Asian sentiment has increased since the COVID-19 crisis began. According to an FBI intelligence report, hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are likely to surge as COVID-19 continues to spread. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced the companion resolution in the House last week.

“There have been disturbing reports of increased profiling, intimidation, or hate towards Asian Americans and Asian immigrants during the COVID-19 crisis – this is inexcusable,” said Harris. “Let’s be clear: COVID-19 does not target any group by race or ethnicity. We must condemn any instance of racism or discrimination, wherever it exists.”

“After Donald Trump’s inappropriate and racist efforts to ‘rebrand’ this disease, we continue to see a spike in rhetoric and actions against the Asian American community because of misguided fears surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Duckworth. “We must continue to speak out against these racist acts and those who are stoking these fears about a virus that we know strikes without regard to the color of a person’s skin or the language they speak. I’m proud to be introducing this important resolution with Sen. Harris, Sen, Hirono and Rep. Meng.”

“Inflammatory and racist rhetoric from officials at the highest level of our government has contributed to a disturbing rise in hate-crimes targeting Asian Americans,” said Hirono. “Calling COVID-19 the ‘Wuhan virus,’ ‘kung flu,’ or ‘Chinese virus’ isn’t clever or funny, it’s wrong and deeply harmful. This resolution sends a clear message of solidarity that stoking racial divisions will only impede our efforts to overcome the immense challenges that this virus poses to our country.”

“Asian Americans, like millions of others across the nation, are fighting on the frontlines against the COVID-19 pandemic. They also share in the extreme concern for their health and economic security,” said Meng. “Yet, so many Asian Americans are also living in fear and terror following the dramatic increase of threats and attacks against those of Asian descent.

“Since the beginning of this public health crisis, I have called on our nation’s leaders, such as our president, to cease using terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘kung-flu.’ Such language is reckless and downright disgusting. I was grateful to be joined by over 120 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives in introducing H.Res. 908 to highlight this incessant and harmful rhetoric, and denounce those who would take advantage of this tumultuous time to slander and abuse the Asian American community. I thank Sens. Harris, Duckworth, and Hirono for leading the House companion version in the Senate.

“COVID-19 distinguishes neither race, ethnicity, class, nor any aspect of one’s background. It’s imperative that we all have the singular focus to prioritize the public safety and health of each and every person. I urge our fellow Americans to stand united and condemn the xenophobic behavior when it arises. Congress must pass both resolutions immediately.”

The resolution is endorsed by Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Muslim Advocates, Oxfam, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

See the full text of the resolution here.

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