Statement in Support of AAPI

Statement in Support of Asian, Asian-Americans, Pacific-Islanders

Earlier this month, we reached the official year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. For months prior, the world tracked the development from China, throughout Asia and eventually around the world.
As the disease spread, so did inflammatory and discriminatory comments regarding its origin in China that has led to a dramatic increase in violence against People who identify as Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander. Discussions at a congressional hearing Thursday continued that hateful rhetoric.
This week, three specific things occurred that are leading PNACAC to send this statement:

  • NACAC Issues Statement of Support for Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Students
  • Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center launched in March 2020 created by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University, released their 2020-2021 National Report (more on this below)
  • A white man shot and killed eight people in Atlanta. Of those killed, seven were women and all but one appeared to be of Asian descent. The suspect has been arrested and admitted to the killings. There is now a discussion on if he will be charged with hate crimes related to race, national origin or biological sex and gender identity. Georgia’s hate crimes law covers all.

We’ll admit, we are late to address this issue. And so why address it at all? Because…

  • Our association and profession include members who are Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander.
  • We have friends and colleagues in our schools, universities, community-based organizations and who serve as independent consultants who identify as Asian, Asian-American and/or Pacific Islander.
  • Our schools, universities and communities all include students who identify as Asian, Asian-American and/or Pacific Islander.
  • We must do better to address hate and discrimination in our association, schools and communities.

In the report linked above, which covers 3,795 incidents received by the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, and only represents a fraction of the incidents that actually occur:

  • Verbal harassment and shunning (i.e., the deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans) are the two largest proportions of incidents reported.
  • Physical assault is the third.
  • Women report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.
  • Chinese are the largest ethnic group experiencing hate (42.2 percent), followed by Koreans, Vietnamese and Filipinos.
  • Incident reports come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Businesses are the primary site of discrimination, followed by public streets and public parks.
  • 4.5 percent of reports were in schools and 2.5 percent of reports were in universities.
  • Washington state had the third highest rate of reports (after California and New York) and Oregon was at 16th.

But discrimination against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders did not begin on March 19, 2020, and even in the Pacific Northwest, which is often believed or assumed to be an inclusive and welcoming place has a history of active discrimination against these communities:

  • In 1853, the Washington territorial legislature barred Chinese from voting and later legislation enacted poll taxes and restrictions on testifying in court cases against whites. The 1889 state constitution prohibited resident aliens from owning land. In 1921 and 1922, the rule was extended to leasing, renting, and sharecropping of land. These laws were not repealed until 1966.
  • Similar laws existed in Oregon, as well. The Oregon Constitution specifically stated that “No Chinaman, not a resident of the state at the adoption of this constitution, shall ever hold any real estate or mining claim, or work any mining claim therein.” Oregon also banned people of Chinese descent from attending public schools, entering certain professions, serving on juries, voting or holding office. People of Chinese descent were also not permitted to live beyond their own communities, thus the origin of Portland’s (like other cities in the U.S.) Chinatown.
  • Of our five states, Alaska is the only one to have never had an anti-miscegenation law – banning whites from marrying outside their race. Washington repealed their law in 1868; Oregon in 1951, Montana in 1953 and Idaho in 1959. Montana and Idaho’s laws specifically banned whites from marrying Blacks and Asians. Oregon’s went further and banned whites from marrying Blacks, Native Americans, Asians and Native Hawaiians.
  • The patchwork of discriminatory state laws began to be elevated to the national level first with the Page Act of 1875, which banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States. It was followed by the Angell Treaty of 1880, which allowed for the suspension of Chinese immigration. Two years later, the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers. Exclusion was repealed in 1943, allowing 105 Chinese to enter per year. Direct racial barriers and the National Origins Formula were not abolished until 1952 and 1965, respectively.
  • In February 1942, Executive Order 9066 authorized the Secretary of War to evacuate all persons deemed a threat from the West Coast to internment camps, which the federal government called “relocation centers.” What started as curfews for Japanese Americans turned into voluntary evacuation from a limited number of areas. On March 29, and under Public Proclamation No. 4, the forced evacuation and detention of Japanese Americans on the West Coast began. Residents were given 48-hour notice and over the following six months, approximately 112,000 persons, including 70,000 U.S. citizens, were sent to assembly centers before moving onto long-term relocation centers where they lived out the rest of the war. However, due to the short notice, and without the ability to dispose or make arrangements for the care of property, most homes, farms, business and private belongings were lost forever. Of the Japanese American community of Tacoma, only 30 percent returned after the war.

What can you do?

If you need support:

PNACAC stands with and supports our members and students who identify as Asian, Asian-American and/or Pacific Islander. Our region has an especially long history of discrimination towards people who identify as AAPI and the events of this year and this week prove we still have a long way to go.

Additional Educational & Advocacy Resources


Share this post: