Reports in Minnesota and across the country of racism and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have increased during the COVID-19 outbreak. The discovery of the virus in Wuhan, China has led many Americans to unjustly blame Asian-identifying people for the spread of the pandemic.
This discrimination takes many forms, from racial slurs and denial of customer service to acts as extreme as physical violence. As a result, many Asian Minnesotans are concerned about their safety and the safety of their families. KOM, along with nearly 30 other organizations, has issued a Joint Statement on Racism and Violence Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, urging communities and leaders to denounce acts of racism and support their Asian American neighbors.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has also spoken about the discrimination against API Minnesotans, and you can read his statement in Karen on our Facebook page. “We as Minnesotans across the state will not tolerate discrimination, racism, or disrespect of our API neighbors now or at any time,” Walz said. “Viruses don’t discriminate, and neither should we.”
Walz and his staff have been working with the Departments of Human Rights and Public Safety as well as API community leaders to address the issue of virus-related discrimination.
If you, a family member, or a friend experience discrimination, contact the police. Here is a video in Karen from a St. Paul police officer describing how you can address this situation.
Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights set up a Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148. The Helpline is available for anyone to report incidents of discrimination Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Translation services are available. As always, call 911 first if you believe you are in immediate physical danger.
During these difficult times especially, KOM, along with many community members and other Asian American Organizations, stands in solidarity to prevent and end racism and violence.