DC-Area APABAs & Seventeen Additional Bar Associations and Law Student Organizations Condemn Post-COVID-19 Racism and Xenophobia
In the two weeks leading up to April 1, 2020, over 1000 hateful acts of discrimination, including serious violent acts, directed towards Asians and Asian Americans were reported, with new incidents coming in daily. And those are just reported cases. These hateful acts have been committed against Asians and Asian Americans of all ages, with victims as young as 2 years old.1 Incidents in the DC metro region are undoubtedly being under-reported as well. APABA-DC, APABA-MD, APABA-VA, and the additional seventeen undersigned bar associations and law student organizations denounce these hateful acts in the strongest terms, and urge others to join us in calling out this racism, educating the public, holding perpetrators accountable, and working together during these times of immense hardship in America.2
Educating the public: Irresponsible rhetoric such as referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” or otherwise “foreign” virus has fanned and been tied to the rise of hateful acts towards Asians and Asian Americans. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have specifically stated that using such terms creates harmful stigma against ethnic and minority groups, and further endangers public health.3 It is imperative that any continued use of this irresponsible rhetoric cease, and that all of our neighbors become aware of—and stand up to—these hateful acts when they occur in our community.
Holding Perpetrators Accountable: We thank those who have shown solidarity with the Asian and Asian American community in calling out racism, and applaud the law enforcement agencies that have pledged to hold accountable those who commit unlawful, discriminatory acts against Asians and Asian Americans. While we continue to urge federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute such unlawful acts, we also urge them to engage closely with members of the Asian and Asian American community and their neighbors to encourage the reporting of these incidents. Recently, the New York State Attorney General’s office created a hotline to report anti-Asian incidents,4 which we believe will facilitate victims and witnesses to come forward and report anti-Asian incidents. In the District, we encourage individuals to report incidents to the DC Hate Crimes Hotline at 202-727-0500 or the DC Victim Hotline, 1-844-4HELPDC. In Maryland, individuals can report incidents to a special hotline dedicated to hate crimes, 1-866-481-8361. In Virginia, individuals can report a hate crime and/or be connected with victims’ resources for support following a crime at 1-855-NOH8VA1.
Working Together: The public health crisis today presents unprecedented challenges for so many communities in these extraordinarily difficult times. We believe it is also a time for uncommon kindness and renewed solidarity as a nation. We urge everyone—as grandparents, parents, sons, daughters— across professions and vocations to work together on a daily basis while “physical distancing” to promote the well-being of our fellow neighbors. Several of our organizations have helped to collect and curate helpful resources to that end, to help maintain social ties and bring together our communities:
- APABA-DC: Upcoming resources and events will be available in our Weekly Announcements and on our Facebook page.
- HBA: https://www.hbadc.org/general/custom.asp?page=COVID19
These resources are in addition to the countless informal networks that have formed over the past few weeks to aid us all in weathering the pandemic.
We wish everyone good health and safety and urge the public to report hateful acts to the appropriate authorities.
APABA-DC (Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area)
APABA-MD (Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland)
APABA-VA (Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia)
AEF (APABA Educational Fund)
AILA-DC Chapter (American Immigration Lawyers Association, DC Chapter)
CAMBA (Capital Area Muslim Bar Association)
FALA-DC (Filipino American Lawyers Association of Washington, D.C.)
Georgetown APALSA (Georgetown Law Asian Pacific American Law Students Association)
GW APALSA (George Washington University Law School Asian Pacific American Law Students Association)
GWAC (Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association)
HBA-DC (Hispanic Bar Association of D.C.)
IABA-DC (Iranian American Bar Association of D.C.)
KABA-DC (Korean American Bar Association of D.C.)
SABA-DC (South Asian Bar Association of D.C.)
TALC-DC (Taiwanese American Lawyers Committee of D.C.)
VABA-DC (Vietnamese American Bar Association of D.C.)
Washington Council of Lawyers
WBA (Washington Bar Association)
WBA-DC (Women’s Bar Association of D.C.)
WCL APALSA (American University Washington College of Law Asian Pacific American Law Students Association)
1 Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stand Against Hate–Tell Your Story. Help Us Track Hate. https://www.standagainsthatred.org/stories? (last accessed Mar. 30, 2020); ABC News, FBI warns of potential surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans amid coronavirus; https://abcnews.go.com/US/fbi-warns-potential-surge-hate-crimes-asian-americans/story?id=69831920 (last accessed Mar. 30, 2020)
2 The views expressed in this statement do not necessarily reflect the views of each member or officer of APABA-DC, its Advisory Board, or the general membership.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reducing Stigma, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/reducing-stigma.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fsymptoms-testing%2Freducing-stigma.html (last accessed Mar. 30, 2020); World Health Organization, Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19), https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen (last accessed Mar. 30, 2020), “Do your part to stop stigma and combat COVID-19” (Feb. 25, 2020 entry).
4 Leticia James, NY Attorney General, AG James Launches Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric, https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2020/ag-james-launches-hotline-combat-coronavirus-hate-crimes-and-xenophobic-rhetoric (Mar. 23, 2020).