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New Letter from 80+ Organizations Calls on Members of Congress to Denounce Anti-Asian Bigotry and Rhetoric

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To close Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, organizations implore House and Senate leadership to condemn anti-Asian bigotry and rhetoric

Read the letter HERE

Washington, DC – As Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month comes to a close, a new letter signed by 88 organizations and sent today to congressional leaders calls on elected officials to “unequivocally denounce and condemn anti-Asian bigotry and its use by Members of Congress, and encourage Members of your caucuses to refrain from peddling this rhetoric.” The letter is available online here.

The letter, organized by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), among others, notes that “the Asian American community has known the painful effect of discriminatory policy and rhetoric from the U.S. government since Asian immigrants first stepped foot into the US nearly two centuries ago” and the dangerous rise in anti-Asian bigotry in recent years in the U.S. Yet as the letter notes, “today, Members of Congress, including key Committees, amplify the same hateful rhetoric that provided the fertile ground for the outbreak of anti-Asian bigotry” including in recent hearings, such as “the so-called ‘Unprecedented Surge in Chinese Illegal Immigration’” which “provided a platform for members to continue to vilify both Asian immigrants and members of the Asian American community.” 

Sent to Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and Leader Jeffries, the letter is available HERE with the list of signatories.

Below, please find quotes from some of the signatories expanding on the importance of the letter and its message: 

Christine Chen, Executive Director of APIAVote: “Across the country, anti-Asian rhetoric and fear-mongering against Asians has become increasingly mainstreamed by elected officials and political commentators. In turn, we are seeing in real time how this dangerous dialogue is resulting in more and more proposed legislation that directly targets our communities. Ironically, several of these same people also hope to win our vote, as many are beginning to realize AAPIs are the margin of victory in several key races across the country. You cannot have it both ways. We condemn those who use Asians as a scapegoat to gain political points and implore our leaders to hold those who spew anti-Asian racism accountable.”

John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, AAJC: “It is shameful that xenophobic and racist rhetoric is being used in political discourse both publicly and within the halls of Congress. Elected officials who participate in this type of language and framing must be held accountable by both party leaders. We cannot be the only ones calling out this harmful, and potentially deadly behavior. Instead of being targeted, profiled, and surveilled by law enforcement, immigrants from all walks of life should be welcomed into this country. It bears repeating that the strength of America flows directly from our diversity.”

Nicole Melaku, Executive Director, National Partnership for New Americans: “AAPI Heritage Month is a time to commemorate the immeasurable contributions of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in building equity, equality, and inclusion after years of discrimination and disenfranchisement. As our country shifts further towards racist, nativist, and xenophobic policies, we remind our leaders of the resistance of our communities that shaped America today. From laws excluding our races, and treating us like second-class citizens, to today being on the same footing as our oppressors—the democratic values of this nation have the veins of our advocacy and experiences. We stand today against both the Republican and Democratic members of Congress who are perpetuating white supremacy. Racially targeting and calling our community terrorists has historically led to deep injustices against AAPI communities—from the post-9/11 atrocities to violence against our families during the COVID-19 pandemic to the tragic Atlanta shooting. We need elected officials who will bring inclusion, make communities of color feel welcome, curb anti-Asian hate, and address the dangers our community faces.”

Naomi Steinberg, Vice President, U.S. Policy & Advocacy, HIAS: When elected officials spread Anti-Chinese and anti-asylum seeker rhetoric, it doesn’t stay in the halls of Congress. It leaks into the real world, and we have seen with horror how this language can inspire murderous violence. HIAS and the American Jewish community know all too well what this kind of hate feels and looks like, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with all communities who find themselves in the crosshairs of political fear mongering, especially when that dangerous dialogue is rooted in disinformation and conspiracy theories about immigrants. We call on Senate, House, and Committee leadership to not only strongly condemn anti-Asian bigotry but to unequivocally do the same each and every time our elected officials employ dangerous rhetoric when debating border and asylum policies.

Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: “It is tragic that the same sort of anti-Chinese conspiratorial bigotry that animated the Chinese Exclusion Act 150 years ago is now again echoing in the halls of Congress. Words matter, even more so when they come from electeds in positions of power, and as we have already seen, these words can and do incite violence.  And let’s be clear the rhetoric about Chinese immigrants is not about managing migration flows or keeping the American people safe. It’s just an attempt to score political points with coded racist fearmongering.  Congressional leaders must denounce and stop perpetuating anti-Asian bigotry.”