Dear BC Community,
Since the COVID-19 pandemic turned American life upside down 12 months ago, we’ve seen an alarming rise in violence, harassment, and discrimination against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Asian Americans, especially the elderly and women, have been brutally attacked all across our nation, including here in the Seattle area.
The advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate has documented more than 2,800 reports of discrimination between March and December 2020, and the NYPD reported that in New York City alone, “hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1,900%.” The King County Prosecutor’s Office says its prosecution of hate crimes increased by 50% in 2020 over 2019, with the increase driven largely by the rise in attacks against Asian Americans.
Part of this can be attributed to the hateful and racist rhetoric by the prior administration that sought to scapegoat Asia for the outbreak. But America, and Washington state, have a long and troubled history of xenophobia and discrimination against Asian Americans. From the Seattle Riot of 1866 that resulted in the forcible removal of 200 Chinese civilians, to the Chinese Exclusion Act barring immigration from China until 1943, to the Alien Land Laws passed by mostly west coast states aimed at prohibiting primarily Chinese and Japanese immigrants from owning land, to the internment of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII, members of the AAPI community have long struggled with discrimination, oppression and racism.
Racism is a cancer in this country. We must acknowledge and confront the vicious ways in which it has targeted, suppressed, and harmed BIPOC communities. And tomorrow, March 13, marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic killing of Breonna Taylor.
Sometimes the challenges seem insurmountable. But the conversations between underrepresented groups, exploration of intersectionality, and expressions of solidarity demonstrate that when we work together to confront racism, change can follow.
Last June, the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges released a resolution denouncing anti-Asian discrimination. On Jan. 26, President Biden signed an executive order denouncing racism and xenophobia against members of the AAPI community.
And just last night in his first address to the nation, focused on COVID-19 challenges and progress, President Biden condemned the “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated… They … live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop.”
Bellevue College agrees, and is committed to the safety of our AAPI community. If you, or someone you know, experiences a bias incident or hate crime in the BC community, please use our Bias Incident Form to alert our response team. Gov. Inslee has also posted information about hate crimes and resources available to victims, regardless of immigration status, here.
Please continue to support our AAPI students and colleagues who may be experiencing additional fear and stress at this time. And thank you for your efforts to create a better BC and America.
Last Updated April 9, 2021