In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, veterans at Common Defense stand in solidarity with the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in denouncing the anti-Asian violence and rhetoric that has erupted across the country in parallel with this unprecedented public health crisis.
These incidents are happening in our own backyards, in both blue states and red states, and are almost too numerous to count. Just two weeks ago, a 39-year-old Asian woman in Brooklyn was attacked by an individual who poured a substance on her that caused chemical burns on her face and body. This incident follows a string of other events in which Asian Americans have been refused service at local businesses, bullied and hospitalized by classmates, verbally attacked on public transit, and even spat on in the street. In one tragic case in Texas, an Asian family of three was stabbed, including a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old.
A self-reporting website created by Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action has revealed an average of 100 reported incidents per day on this platform alone, exceeding 1,100 cases in two weeks.
These accounts of violence are not only antithetical to the American values we have fought for; they also hearken to instances of violence, torture, hazing, and discrimination that many military service members experienced or witnessed during our service. These incidents are also a sad recapitulation of the violence that Arab, South Asian, and Muslim Americans faced after 9/11, a chapter in history that has not ended, and which accompanied a protracted Forever War which we’ve paid for in hundreds of thousands of American lives.
More abhorrent still is the blatant manner in which Trump, the right wing media, and members of the Republican Party have normalized the terms “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus”. These misnomers are meant to intentionally mislead the public into believing dangerous myths about how COVID-19 is spread, stoke xenophobia among Trump supporters, and deflect attention away from the federal administration’s incompetent response to this deadly outbreak and its complicity in deepening health disparities in the AAPI community, particularly when it comes to Pacific Islander communities, whose rates of infection are 2-3 times the state average in several states.
We urge members of Congress and the veteran community to reject anti-Asian bigotry in all its forms, participate in and promote bystander intervention training, and combat misinformation and disinformation positioning Asian Americans as a scapegoat for this outbreak.
Stop Hate Project
Assistance with legal and social services is available through the Stop Hate hotline (1-844-9-NO-HATE), which is accessible in a number of languages.
Asian Language COVID-19 Resources:
Report Anti-Asian Hate Incidents: