Statement from AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins Condemning Surge in Pandemic-Related Hate Crimes Targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
WASHINGTON: AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins released the following statement in response to newly compiled data showing a spike last year—in some cases by triple digits—in anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of the nation’s largest cities. The March 2 analysis comes from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, based on preliminary police data. The first spikes occurred in March and April 2020, according to the center’s report, coinciding with the rise in COVID-19 cases and negative stereotyping of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members generally, and Chinese Americans in particular. In addition, the report states that overall hate crimes fell last year, while hate crimes targeting AAPI community members dramatically increased.
Another group, Stop AAPI Hate, reported in February that it had collected 126 firsthand accounts of hate directed at older Asian Americans (age 60+) between March 19, 2020 and the end of the year. These cases accounted for 7.3% of the 2,808 self-reports the group has received in total.
“Our nation must stand united against coronavirus, which has disproportionately sickened and killed older Americans. These troubling new hate crimes data mean that older Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders not only are concerned about coronavirus, they now also face increased violence and harassment fueled by prejudice, hatred and xenophobia. This is a combination that could create barriers to seeking testing, treatment, information or vaccination, at a moment when we as a country must come together and do everything in our power to help contain COVID’s spread. Former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has said ‘stigma is the enemy of public health,’ and we agree. AARP strongly condemns all racially motivated violence and harassment.”