Throughout the nation, reports of racism and hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are on the rise.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, “there have been a significant number of reports of AAPI individuals being threatened and harassed,” since January 2020. These incidents include “being told to “Go back to China,” being blamed for “bringing the virus” to the United States, being referred to with racial slurs, spat on, or physically assaulted. Statements by public officials referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” “Kung Flu” or “Wu Flu” may be exacerbating the scapegoating and targeting of the AAPI community. Meanwhile, extremists continue to spread antisemitic and xenophobic conspiracies about COVID-19, blaming Jews and China for creating, spreading, and profiting off the virus.”
At Monday’s City Council Meeting, Mayor Nancy Backus made an official proclamation denouncing “all COVID-19 related misnaming, blaming and harassment based on race, ethnicity, physical ability, socio-economic status, gender preference/sexual orientation, age, or religion.”
Though the city of Auburn has not seen any hate crimes or harassment specifically related to COVID-19, Mayor Backus felt it was important to reaffirm the city’s stance as an inclusive and welcoming city. “The proclamation to commit to an inclusive community and denounce hate crimes is an easy decision to make,” said Backus. “Auburn in an Inclusive City and as such, we do not support racism, harassment, or hate crimes at any time, and especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Our hope is that this is a reminder that we should support one another. It’s simply the right thing to do.”
In a recent Northwest Asian Weekly article, U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran is quoted as saying, “as we confront the grim realities COVID-19 is inflicting on our communities, there is no place for hate and misplaced blame. I am disturbed to hear reports of hate speech, incidents of vandalism, and even some physical attacks that wrongly and illegally target members of our Asian American community. We are working with our federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate, and if possible, prosecute these crimes. I urge those who witness or are victims to acts of hate to contact law enforcement. All of us need to stand together to say this hateful conduct is wrong and will not be tolerated.”
If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, report it to local law enforcement.
In addition, here are other resources:
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, Civil Rights complaints website:
FBI, Seattle Field Division: (206) 622-0460; FBI Hate Crimes website and tip line:
To request a copy of the OCA guidelines, visit ocaseattle.org.