OAPABA and OFALA Condemn Anti-Asian Bias and Violent Attacks

Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association (OAPABA) and Oregon Filipino American Law Association (OFALA) condemn the recent incidents of anti-Asian violence and the hate and racism that fuels these attacks. Last night, a gunman entered multiple businesses in Atlanta and opened fire on a predominantly Asian American workforce. This act of violence left eight dead, including six Asian American women. While further details are still forthcoming, this latest violent attack is only the most recent among the many hate crimes and race-based incidents before it, including reports of Asian Americans being spit on, coughed at, physically attacked, assaulted, and harassed.

These incidents targeting Asian Americans have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic when rhetoric inappropriately referred to the virus as an Asian disease, and leaders began using phrases like “China Virus” and “Kung Flu.” The use of racist and hateful rhetoric creates real harm, and anti-Asian bias and racist attacks have increased as a direct result. We condemn any attempts by leaders to blame Asian Americans in the face of the global pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, Latinx, and other people of color, an issue that we must address collectively.

Asian Americans are increasingly experiencing stigma, xenophobia, and discrimination. Stop AAPI Hate tracks reports of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Since the start of the pandemic, they have received reports of 3,795 hate incidents across the United States from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, representing only a fraction of the real number of hate incidents that actually occur. Oregon is not immune. An Asian American male was physically attacked while using public transit on December 15, 2020. Many Asian-owned businesses along 82nd Avenue in the Jade District have reported acts of vandalism. A 21-year old Asian student from Willamette University was physically attacked when two men pushed her down and kicked her while making disparaging, racially-charged comments.

Racial violence against Asian Americans often goes overlooked because of persistent and harmful “model minority” stereotypes about our community. This false narrative that Asian Americans are more successful compared to other ethnic minorities because of hard work, education and inherently law-abiding natures was constructed during the Civil Rights era to stymie racial justice movements. It is a fallacy that our community does not experience struggle or racial discrimination and is a contributing factor to the current climate.

There is no place for violence and race-based hatred in our community. We call upon everyone to create a safer community by addressing words, jokes, slights, and comments that cast blame and promote racism or discrimination. We extend our condolences, support, and wishes for healing to all who have been affected.
If you observe a hate crime or bias incident, you can refer to the following resources:

– APANO and Portland United Against Hate’s (PUAH) “Resilience to Hate Resource Guide
– Report to Oregon Department of Justice Bias Response Hotline at 1-844-924-BIAS or
StandAgainstHate.Oregon.gov
– StopAAPIhate.org to report an incident and obtain safety tips in multiple languages

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For more information, contact: communications@oapaba.org or contact@OregonFALA.org

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