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April 13, 2020 COVID-19 WEBINAR SERIES

COVID-19: Threats to Democracy and to Public Safety Through the Lens of the Asian American Experience

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a violent upsurge of discriminatory, racist, and xenophobic attacks, both physical and verbal, against Asian Americans. The situation has been exacerbated by the President, his administration, and other high profile individuals, who have insisted on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” “Wuhan virus,” or “Kung Flu” to racialize the pandemic. Racial scapegoating is not a new phenomenon. Chinese Americans were blamed for the bubonic plague, Japanese Americans were incarcerated by labeling them an “enemy race”, and more recently  Mexicans have been characterized as “rapists” and Muslims as “terrorists.” This use of race as a tool to divide and divert attention from shortcomings, together with the disregard of facts and science, has threatened our democracy, and now threatens our safety. In this webinar, panelists discuss our nation’s history of racial scapegoating; the consequences when alternative facts are substituted for evidence and scientifically supported data; the role of the media; and how we, as a country, can stand together to simultaneously defeat COVID-19 and preserve democracy.

Welcome and Introduction

  • Judy Perry Martinez, President, American Bar Association; Of Counsel, Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn



Joint Sponsor: Stop Repeating History

Co-Sponsors: ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, ABA Commission on ImmigrationABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the ProfessionABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityABA Criminal Justice Section, ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers DivisionABA Section of Litigation, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Senior Lawyers Division, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division




American Bar Association
Established ABA Coronavirus Task Force

Seven national bar associations, including the ABA, released
a joint statement denouncing the rising number of incidents involving anti-Asian discrimination and racist remarks related to the coronavirus and COVID-19.
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), the National LGBT Bar (LGBT Bar), the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America). 


April 10, 2020 – Senate Democrats Letter to the US Commission on Civil Rights

H.Res.907 - Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of the People's Republic of China made multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which include the Chinese Government's intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus, a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities, internal censorship of doctors and journalists, and malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.

H.Res.908 - Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19.

S. Res XXX - Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19.

USCCR Report: In The Name of Hate: Examining the Federal Government’s Role in Responding to Hate Crimes (Key Findings)

March 20, 2020: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Expresses Concern Over Growing Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 23, 2020: President Trump Statement on Asian Americans

April 7, 2020: Joint Intelligence Bulletin – Domestic Violent Extremist Likely to Continue Exploiting Covid-19 Pandemic to Incite or Engage in Violence (AAPI and Jewish)

April 10, 2020: Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on Incidents of Racism Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders


Matt Stevens/NYT

March 23, 2020 – NYT: Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their Safety

March 29, 2020 – NYT: How Asian-American Leaders Are Grappling With Xenophobia Amid Coronavirus

April 10, 2020 – NYT: New Trump Ad Suggests a Campaign Strategy Amid Crisis: Xenophobia

Helen Zia

April 2, 2020 – WPost: Targeting Asians and Asian Americans will make it harder to stop covid-19

Mari Matsuda – We Will Not Be Used: Are Asian-Americans the Racial Bourgeoisie?

Commissioner Karen Narasaki

April 8, 2020 – WPost:  As the coronavirus spreads, so does online racism targeting Asians, new research shows

April 8, 2020 – Adweek: This Campaign Maps the Rising Number of Anti-Asian Hate Incidents


April 3, 2020: Stop AAPI Hate Weekly Report

March 11, 2020 – NCAPA: Asian American and Pacific Islander Leaders and Over 260 Civil Rights Organizations Call on Congress to Denounce Anti-Asian Racism around COVID-19

Hate Incident Community Reporting Sites

Admerasia created a project to track hate attacks on Asian Americans.


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