San Francisco Community Health Center condemns the horrific acts of violence directed at the Asian community. This vicious hate is reprehensible and it must end. We are an organization founded by the Asian and Pacific Islander community, with many of our legacy API-focused HIV programs still flourishing. We know that stigmatizing language stings. That COVID-19 was repeatedly referred to as the “China virus” or the “Wuhan virus” cemented a direct connection between this global health pandemic and the blame and hostility targeting the Asian community. This is clearly outright racism, plain and simple.
As an organization dedicated to providing HIV services for the most vulnerable and marginalized, we know full well that the impact of stigma can be deadly. HIV-related stigma prevented too many of us from getting tested early on and caused too many to not seek treatment when they needed it. HIV-related stigma ate away at us from the inside out, as the shame of this disease was too much to bear for our community members living with HIV and our families.
We extend our sympathies to the family of Vicha Ratanapakdee, our San Francisco neighbor, who was violently shoved to the ground and subsequently died due to this act of violence. Too many Asian Americans here in the Bay Area are falling victim to these types of attacks. And across the country, we remember the despicable incident last year in Midland, Texas, when Bawi Cung and his two sons were stabbed by a man in Sam’s Club with a knife. And, in New York City on the subway, Noel Quintana who survived multiple stab wounds to his face from a man wielding a box cutter, just last month.
We are deeply grateful for the work of Stop AAPI Hate that was created one year ago, a collaboration between Chinese for Affirmative Action, San Francisco State University, UCLA, and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. Stop AAPI Hate documented over 2800 incidents of hate in 2020 and continues to see rising incidences in 2021. Their efforts are critical. We thank Assemblymember Phil Ting for securing increased funding for these efforts. We applaud President Biden’s signing of the executive order denouncing the alarming wave of racism toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander community that has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We must do everything in our power to combat racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and hate – in all forms. This has been and will continue to be the ongoing work of San Francisco Community Health Center.
#StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate #StandforAsians
-Lance Toma, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer