An Open Letter to Elected Officials and Candidates April 17, 2020
In January, as news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic took center stage, Asian Americans began receiving racial taunts on the street and in schools while being bullied on social media. As coronavirus cases spread rapidly and the death toll mounted across Europe and in the United States, anti-Asian hate crimes became increasingly brazen and numerous.
It is within this context that President Trump, willfully, repeatedly, and in defiance of the guidance of his own senior advisors, continued to employ needlessly racialized terms to describe COVID-19. Despite warnings that his rhetoric would inflame xenophobic violence, Trump continued to refer to COVID-19 as “Chinese” or “China” virus. Predictably, assaults against Asian Americans rose as was feared and foreseen. Anti-Asian incidents were not exclusive to the Chinese community but were reported in the Korean, Vietnamese, Hmong, Filipino, Cambodian, Japanese and other Asian communities as well.
The racialized fear-mongering has grown so severe that a new FBI analysis warned of an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow. The report noted there has already been a surge in hate crimes, listing a series of incidents across the country, including a devastating case in Texas where three Asian American family members, including a 2-year-old and 6-year-old, were stabbed viciously and a woman in New York City assaulted with acid.
It is incumbent upon all of us to condemn the President’s language as well as the hate-filled incidents of violence he has incited.
Elected officials and those who seek public office can no longer avoid their responsibility to condemn this behavior. It is not enough to disapprove of the language without holding the author of that language responsible. There comes a time to choose decency over political expediency and we have arrived at that moment.
We call upon elected officials as well as those who seek office to rise to this occasion and not only speak forcefully against inflammatory anti-Asian language but also to directly hold President Trump accountable for the violence he has inspired. We ask that elected leaders and candidates pay attention to anti-Asian bigotry in our community and share the Stop-AAPI-Hate website on their social media platforms as a practical way to raise awareness and combat the trend. We hope that you share our outrage and will denounce Donald Trump’s intentional and targeted racial hate speech. It is imperative that we stand together as a community in these unprecedented times and urge the President to suspend his use of these racially charged terms. We look forward to your public response to this call to action.
SIGNATORIES OF FAITH COMMUNITY LEADERS Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein, DHL, DD, Congregation B'nai Tzedek
The Most Reverend Thanh Thai Nguyen, Auxiliary Bishop of Orange in California
Sister Thuy Tran, Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
Shakeel Syed, Regional Director, American Muslims for Palestine
Reverend Breana van Velzen, Duke University Chapel
Sayyid M. Syeed, President, Islamic Society of North America
Reverend Dr. Sarah Halverson - Cano, Fairview Community Church
Avinder Singh Chawla, Sikh Community List in formation - request to sign on here Please note that individuals have added their names, with titles and affiliations for identification purposes only and this does not constitute institutional endorsement.
Manual Acosta, South El Monte City Council Dawn Addis, Morro Bay City Council Vinnie Bacon, Fremont City City Council Ian Bain, Redwood City Council Pete Ballew, San Leandro City Council Michael Barnes, Albany City Council Nikki Fortunato Bas, Oakland City Council District 2 Nathaniel Bates, Richmond City Council Yvonne Martinez Beltran, Morgan Hill City Council Drew Bessinger, Clovis City Council Dan Brotman, Glendale City Council Kim Carr, Huntington Beach City Council Sue Chan, Trustee, Ohlone Community College Wilma Chan, Alameda County Board of Supervisors David Chiu, Chair, CA API Legislative Caucus Andrew Chou, Diamond Bar City Council Ross Chun, Aliso Viejo City Council Kate Colin, San Rafael City Council Sergio Contreras, Westminster City Council Malcolm Corona, Perris City Council Cheryl Davila, Berkeley City Council District 2 Lan Diep, San Jose City Council Karina Dominguez, Milpitas City Council Scott Donahue, Emeryville City Council Adam Eisen, Half Moon Bay City Council Rodrigo Espinoza, Merced County Board of Supervisors Mike Fong, Trustee, Los Angeles Community College District Melissa Fox, Irvine City Council Lucas Frerichs, Davis City Council Rich Garbarino, South San Francisco City Council Santos Garcia, Madera City Council Gary Gardner, Desert Hot Springs City Council Juan Garza, Bellflower City Council Sanjay Ravi Gehani, Foster City City Council Todd Gloria, Member, CA State Assembly District 78 Arun Goel, Dublin City Council Josephine Gonzalez, Coachella City Council Rubio Gonzales, Pomona City Council Scott Haggerty, Alameda County Board of Supervisors Heidi Harmon, San Luis Obispo City Council Ed Hernandez, San Leandro City Council Alison Hicks, Mountain View City Council Sue Higgins, Oakley City Council Sam Hindi, Foster City City Council Kellie Shay Hinze, Encinitas City Council Lindsey P. Horvath, West Hollywood City Council Davina Hurt, Belmont City Council Al Jabbar, Trustee, Anaheim Unified School District Megan Beaman Jacinto, Coachella City Council Ed Jones, Thousand Oaks City Council Dan Kalb, Oakland City Council Ash Kalra, Member, CA State Assembly District 27 Jenny Kassan, Fremont City Council Teresa Keng, Fremont City Council Farrah N. Khan, Irvine City Council Dave King, Petaluma City Council Keri Kropke, Trustee, Brea Unified School District Sara Lamnin, Hayward City Council Marisela Lara, Soledad City Council Amourence Lee, San Mateo City Council Daniel Lee, Culver City City Council Katherine Lee, Alhambra City Council Roy Lee, Carpinteria City Council Wayne J. Lee, Millbrae City Council Toney Lewis, Duarte City Council Chin Ho Liao, San Gabriel City Council Henry Lo, Monterey Park City Council Laura Parmer-Lohan, San Carlos City Council Evan Low, Member, CA State Assembly District 28 Ruth Luevanos, Simi Valley City Council Mary Luros, Napa City Council Steve Lustro, Pomona City Council Oscar Madrigal, Oxnard City Council Jeffrey Koji Maloney, Alhambra City Council Dianne Martinez, Emeryville City Council Eduardo Martinez, Richmond City Council Justin Massey, Hermosa Beach City Council Michael Matsuda, Superintendent, Anaheim Unified School District Tom McCune, Belmont City Council Peggy McQuaid, Albany City Council Ally Medina, Emeryville City Council Denise Menchaca, San Gabriel City Council Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs City Council Carmen Montano, Milpitas City Council Kevin Muldoon, Newport Beach City Council Deidre Thu Ha Nguyen, Garden Grove City Council Kim Bernice Nguyen, Garden Grove City Council Cottie Petrie-Norris, Member, CA State Assembly District 74 Jim Oddie, Alameda City City Council Bryan Osorio, Delano City Council Sunny Y. Park, Buena Park City Council Priya Bhat-Patel, Carlsbad City Council District 3 Andy Pease, San Luis Obispo City Council Bert E. Perello, Oxnard City Council District 1 Mikke Pierson, Malibu City Council Nick Pilch, Albany City Council Dave Pine, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors District 1 Jamison Power, Westminster School Board Victor Preciado, Pomona City Council Harry T. Price, Fairfield City Council Jason Pu, San Gabriel City Council Rigel Robinson, Berkeley City Council Andrew Rodriguez, Walnut City Council Rita Rogers, Perris City Council Hillary Ronen, San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 9 David Ryu, Los Angeles City Council Jesse Sandoval, Fontana City Council Vicente Sarmiento, Santa Ana City Council Richard Schneider, South Pasadena City Council Jesus Silva, Fullerton City Council Rod Sinks, Cupertino City Council Dirk Slooten, Clearlake City Council Wes Speake, Corona City Council Rene Spring, Morgan Hill City Council Adele Andrade-Stadler, Alhambra City Council Charles P. Stone, Belmont City Council Darren Suen, Elk Grove City Council Ali Sajjad Taj, Artesia City Council Sheng Thao, Oakland City Council Chuck Timm, Fairfield City Council Phil Ting, Member, CA State Assembly District 19 Rafael Trujillo, Rialto City Council Michael D. Tubbs, Stockton City Council Tom Umberg, Member, CA State Senate District 34 Hong Alyce Van, Stanton City Council Malia Vella, Alameda City Council Aisha Wahab, Hayward City Council Allen Warren, Sacramento City Council Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City City Council Mark West, Imperial Beach City Council John Knox White, Alameda City Council Kevin Wilk, Walnut Creek City Council Jon Wizard, Seaside City Council Gilbert Wong, Trustee, Foothill-De Anza Community College Thomas Wong, Board President, San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Betty Yee, CA State Controller Frank Aurelio Yokoyama, Cerritos City Council Ahmad Zahra, Fullerton City Council Francisco Zermeno, Hayward City Council
Judy Chu, Candidate for Congress CA-27 Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., Candidate for Congress CA-39 Sergio Contreras, Candidate for O.C. Board of Supervisors District 1 Lou Correa, Candidate for Congress CA-46 Leah Ersoylu, Candidate for Newport Mesa Unified School Board District 1 Melissa Fox, Candidate for CA State Assembly District 68 Pauline Hale, Candidate for Mission Viejo City Council David Kim, Candidate for Congress CA-34 Mike Levin, Candidate for Congress CA-49 Alan Lowenthal, Candidate for Congress CA-47 Carlos Manzo, Candidate for Westminster City Council Natalie Moser, Candidate for Huntington Beach City Council Dave Min, Candidate for CA State Senate District 37 Josh Newman, Candidate for CA State Senate District 29 Deidre Thu-Ha Nguyen, Candidate for CA State Assembly District 72 Vilaska Nguyen, Candidate for San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 7 Lauren Johnson-Norris, Candidate for Irvine City Council Thai Viet Phan, Candidate for Santa Ana City Council Ward 6 Katie Porter, Candidate for Congress CA-45 Scott Rhinehart, Candidate for CA State Assembly District 73 Andrew Rodriguez, Candidate for CA State Assembly District 55 Harley Rouda, Candidate for Congress CA-48
This letter is being circulated by Asian Americans Rising, a nonpartisan federal political action committee with a mission to elevate the political voice of the Asian American community and raise our visibility through representation in government.
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