By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center announced during a televised town hall on Race and the Coronavirus today that its received 1,100 reports of hate and harassment against Asian Americans in just two weeks.
The town hall televised and streamed live by ABC7 in San Francisco on Facebook and YouTube attracted a wide range of civil rights activists, political and educational leaders and sports and Hollywood celebrities.
Russell Jeung, chair of the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University, said reports of hate include Asian Americans being yelled at, shunned and physically attacked. He said victims have also been spat on and coughed at, raising public health concerns.
Jeung’s department launched the reporting site along with Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco and the Asian and Pacific Policy and Planning Council of Los Angeles.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen of Santa Clara County shared the story of a Vietnamese couple threatened by someone who imitated the cock of a gun and said if he had an AK-47, he would shoot and kill them all. Rosen said prosecutors are proceeding with misdemeanor charges against the suspect. His office has released a video on YouTube advising that “this is not a Chinese virus.”
Actor Tzi Ma who will appear in the upcoming live action movie Mulan and has taken part in the Wash the Hate campaign recalled when someone rolled down his window and screamed ‘you should be quarantined.’
Registered Nurse Kyle Navarro shared “he felt a rush of anger and fear” when a White man spit at him and called him a g**k as he delivered medicine to a family.
“It’s never the responsibility of the person attacked to respond,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations of San Francisco. “The obligation is on the rest of us. I need to intervene to do something to protect my brother and sister.”
Cynthia Choi, Co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, said the rapid rise of hate requires a “government response to address the underlying causes of racism.” She urged everyone to work collectively to stand up with other communities.
“Racism is given an amplified mike from the White House,” said Jacqueline Martinez Garcel of the Latino Community Foundation. “That this is happening right now is not surprising.”
There were also videotaped messages from San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler, Golden State Warrior head coach Steve Kerr, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, actor Hudson Yang and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Yang said for the first time he felt ashamed of being Asian after three middle age men in hoodies confronted him at the grocery store. He said Asian Americans need to demonstrate they are as American as anyone else.
That brought a rebuke from Jeff Yang, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, who said the onus on proving were Americans should not be on Asian Americans. “That looks like we’re defending ourselves for something we shouldn’t have to defend.”
Paul Saffo, a long range tenchology forecaster from Stanford University, called bias a “maladaptation of a deep evolutionary trait…don’t pretend we don’t have it.”
“The virus doesn’t care who you are, what class you are, what race you are,” said Dr. Peter Ching Hong, an infections disease specialist at UC San Francisco. He said Asian Americans are not more likely to be infected by the disease than anyone else.
Assemblyperson Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) says its important to call out institutional racism based on facts and data and pledged to enact laws and approve funding toward that end.
Instagram influencer @Jackfroot says he’s been sharing lots of stories of hate and evil while amplifying the good things of people stepping up and standing up.
Aimee Allison, founder of She the People emphasized that the Black community understand the pain and damage of racism.
“It requires us to show up and speak up together,” she said.
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