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The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and Asian American and Pacific Islander Leaders Denounce Anti-Asian Racism around COVID-19

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) sent a letter today, March 11, to House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The letter called for unity and asked Congress to denounce anti-Asian racism stemming from COVID-19, also known as the “novel coronavirus.” It included the support of over 260 Asian American and Pacific Islanders leaders and organizations.

The letter praised the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and other Congress members for doing their part to quell the fear and anxiety surrounding the virus.

“While we recognize and are grateful for the leadership of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and others in Congress to relieve the fear and anxiety the coronavirus has created for all Americans, it has become clear that Congressional leadership should follow their example and do more,” NCAPA said in the letter. “Our country needs unified, visible and strong leadership to address the growing hostile rhetoric against the Asian American community.”

In their letter, NCAPA cites the letter CAPAC circulated to members of Congress on February 26. The letter from CAPAC asked members to help them stop the spread of misinformation and xenophobia. NCAPA asked Speaker Rep. Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy to do the same.

The letter comes just two days after Minority Leader Rep. McCarthy referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese coronavirus” in a tweet on Monday. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) also called the virus the “Wuhan virus in a tweet a day earlier.

A number of AAPI leaders also praised CAPAC and called on other allies to help stop the spread of misinformation and anti-Asian racism.

“The discriminatory sentiment and instances of violent attacks aimed at Asian Americans is unacceptable, but unfortunately nothing new,” John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in a statement. “We thank CAPAC for their response and urge other elected officials and the media to dispel misinformation around COVID-19. We encourage allies to take action by reiterating the correct information on the virus, holding bystander intervention trainings, and by reporting hate incidents to StandAgainstHatred.org. Together, we must combat xenophobia.”

Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, insisted that the nation’s public health officials must protect the millions of AAPIs that work in healthcare.

“Over 2 million AAPIs work in healthcare, transportation and service industries–these workers are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak and yet they are facing xenophobic and racial discrimination in the workplace in addition to increased exposure to communicable diseases,” Yeh said.

Yeh added that it was imperative that health officials protect “the workers who are taking care of our communities.”

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