Major catastrophes may not discriminate, but the suffering they cause lands disproportionately on communities of color. Racial and social inequities are inflamed, and those considered least during the good times remain neglected in bad ones.
Anti-blackness, orientalism, xenophobia, etc. People across the world are turning to racist ideologies to deal with their fear over the coronavirus pandemic. Since five Nigerians in China recently tested positive for COVID-19, reports have emerged of Africans facing alarming discrimination in the Asian country. Photos show signs banning Black people from buildings and businesses. Some Africans have been singled out for quarantine based on racial profiling. Others have been evicted from their apartments and forced to sleep on the street. Racism is a global problem, pointed out Eddy Zheng (New Breath Foundation) in a virtual townhall yesterday on safety and security hosted by The Peoples Collective for Justice & Liberation. Othering and criminalizing each other will not beat the coronavirus but humanizing and healing each other will. You can help. Please share. Thank you.
liberated determined resolute unafraid committed
Pictured: Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald, and a columnist with Crosscut. Growing up in South Seattle, he experienced first-hand the neglect of news coverage in the area by local media, which taught him the value of narratives. After an unfulfilling stint working for a Los Angeles based hedge-fund in his twenties, Marcus returned to his community determined to tell its true story, which led him to found the South Seattle Emerald. He was named one of Seattle’s most influential people by Seattle Magazine in 2016.
Wonderful news to share–I’ve been awarded a 4Culture Creative Response Grant to support my COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma portrait campaign! My campaign, launched Apr 7, works to combat increased racism against people of color during the pandemic and raise awareness about the disproportionate impacts of coronavirus on communities of color. The grant I’ve been awarded is part of 4Culture’s Relief Fund to support cultural workers and organizations during this time of crisis. Thank you so much 4Culture!
The “forever-foreigne” sentiment sticks with Asian Americans. It hurts to see this play out in the global pandemic, where once again, when it’s not convenient for us to be American, we’re foreign, and seen as causing something terrible.
Reports of coronavirus-related hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders keep coming in. Most hate incidents are verbal abuse, ethnic intimidation, and vandalism. But acts of violence are also taking place including the March 14 stabbing of a Hmong American family in Texas and April 5 acid attack on a Chinese American woman in Brooklyn. This week, actor John Cho published an essay in the LA Times, “Coronavirus reminds Asian Americans like me that belonging is conditional.” I took these images of Seattle-based artist Erin Shigaki as she did volunteer food deliveries in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (SCID). Erin said she felt comfortable wearing a mask in the SCID but when she wore a mask anywhere else, she was getting nasty looks. People of color deserve to stay safe from coronavirus too and not get stigmatized when they go out in public. You can help by sharing. Thank you.
I am Asian American. I am grateful for and committed to my community. I am powerful.
Pictured: Erin Shigaki creates murals and installations focused on the experiences of communities of color, often the incarceration of 126,000 people of Japanese ancestry, including her own family. Erin is passionate about highlighting similarities between that history, the inhumane detention and family separation immigrants face today, and other systemic injustices black and brown people continue to face. Erin is also a community activist with the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee and Tsuru for Solidarity.
Witnessing the ignorance and blatant racism the Asian American communities and African American communities have experienced during this time has been unbearable. It’s time for everyone to bring an end to racism. I hope that during this time of slow down, a new normal can emerge where we see each other as whole, beautiful humans, not just our skin colors.
After weeks of insisting people didn’t need to wear masks (and scoffing at mask-wearing by Asian cultures) health officials changed their tune early April and started advising mask-wearing in the US. Masks, research shows, actually do offer some protection. But for Black folks who constantly face the threat of racial profiling, covering their faces is no simple thing. Right away, reports emerged of Black people being targeted for wearing masks in public, from being escorted out of Walmart to handcuffed by the police. Marlon said friends and family in Detroit, where he’s from, have faced aggression for wearing black cloth face masks (the CDC recommends cloth face coverings). Marlon has one of the black masks too. He said he feels okay wearing it in Seattle but would not wear it back home. If mask-wearing becomes our new normal, there is real danger of continued racial incidents as virus restrictions are lifted and more people go back outside. That’s why normalizing images of people of color wearing masks now is critical. You can help by sharing. Thank you.
I am human I am resilient I am a survivor I am listening I am not finished yet!
Pictured: Marlon Brown is an equity consultant who specializes in leadership coaching, change agent mentoring, and organizational development, with an emphasis on facilitation, training, racial caucusing, policy development and implementation. Marlon also has over 20 years of professional experience working in healthcare, automotive and government organizations as an Information Technology Project Manager.
It’s terrifying to be Chinese in Chinatown right now. Do you realize how backwards that statement is? Considering that Chinatowns were built historically as a safe haven from the racism and yellow peril we have and continue to experience. I feel scared for the aunties and uncles, for those who cannot speak for themselves, for those who are being harassed. Ultimately, I fear for our community but I hope that this experience also brings awareness to the Asian community to build solidarity with Black and Brown communities and what they already experience every single day.
This week, white supremacist group Patriot Front stickered hate messages across Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The stickers, put up by three local white nationalists, said things like “Not Stolen, Conquered,” “Reclaim America,” “Better Dead Than Red.” The men wore dark sunglasses and masks and did their hate work in plain view during broad daylight. Thankfully, the stickers were removed right away by community members. But anti-Asian racism and harassment keeps rising. Also, this week, Trump and some of his officials continued to float the unproven conspiracy theory that the new coronavirus was created by a Chinese lab and released on the world. This theory is NOT supported by science and has been overwhelmingly rejected by experts. When our President insists the conspiracy might be true anyway, it encourages ongoing hate and blame towards AAPIs (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders). You can help stop this. Please share. Thank you.
I am a child of immigrants I am a storyteller I am my ancestors I am Asian American
Pictured: Monyee Chau (b. 1996) is a Taiwanese/Cantonese American artist residing in Seattle, Washington. They received a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, and explores the ideas of decolonization and ancestral healing through labor in multiple processes of art. She is passionate about redefining the experience of being a second generation immigrant in America, and building community through shared food and storytelling.
I cried before almost every prenatal appointment over the last 10 months…I didn’t want carrying a child in a Black body to be a death sentence for me asit has been for so many Black mothers in this country…Black bodies including Black women have historically had to question for profit hospital systems, part of the racist/capitalist American fabric that never opened its arms as a place of healing for Black and Brown families. While there are many highly capable and loving individuals who work in hospitals, many of who are risking their lives…we must still critique the larger framework. These are places that weren’t safe [for Black bodies] to begin with. So, how can we expect them to possibly be prepared to take care of the masses equitably during a pandemic?
How do we safeguard Black mothers and children during a time of pandemic? One of many critical questions that must be asked as Black people suffer and die disproportionately from COVID-19. Today is the last day of Black Maternal Health Week. Founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, #BMHW works to deepen the conversation about Black maternal health in the US; amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions; center the voices of Black Mamas, women, families, and stakeholders; provide a national platform for Black-led efforts on reproductive justice; and enhance community organizing on Black maternal health. You can help. Please share. Thank you.
We are love We are power We are abundant
Jenna and Lena
Pictured: Jenna is a lifelong community storyteller, truth seeker and equity advocate who has spent her career centering and amplifying diverse voices. She spent the last decade of her career working as a broadcast journalist in New York, Kansas City, Missouri and most recently Seattle. Currently, Jenna is the leader of Culture & Innovation at The Riveter. She gave birth to her first baby, Lena, at a freestanding birth center on International Women’s Day (March 8).
In NYC, Black and Latinx residents are dying from COVID-19 at twice the rate of whites. In Louisiana, 70 percent of those who have died are Black. In Chicago and Mississippi more than 70 percent of fatalities are African American. The coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. But racism does. BIPOC (Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color) are especially vulnerable to COVID-19–and the least protected from it–because of centuries of structural and institutional inequity. BIPOC, for example, are less likely to be insured, get quality healthcare, or even a coronavirus test. But BIPOC are more likely to be on the frontlines as low-wage essential workers, to live in crowded metropolitan areas, and, because of discrimination, have pre-existing health conditions. Preliminary numbers are starting to show gross and horrifying coronavirus disparities. However the true scope of the disparities remains unknown as many cities and states drag their heels collecting racial/ethnic data. Washington State had the first known US case of COVID-19 back in January but didn’t release any racial demographic data until April 10. Unacceptable. With our leadership so slow to respond, it’s up to us to keep our eyes wide open and call it where we see it. You can help. Please share if you can. Thank you.
I am a strong black woman, but I’m not invincible. Racism is the pre-existing condition that has made me most vulnerable. White fear is not now and has never been my priority. I will do what I need to do to ensure my personal safety. I am a human being.
Pictured: Reagan Jackson is a multi-genre writer, artist, activist, and international educator with an abiding love of justice, spirituality, and creating community. She is an award-winning journalist who contributes regularly to the Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald, and other local publications. She has written two children’s books and three collections of poetry. Reagan is Program Director at Y-WE (Young Women Empowered) and also co-host of the podcast Deep End Friends which explores race and political issues through the lens of artistic expression and honest conversation. In these photos, Reagan is wearing a mask made for her by Candace Chin, a 70-year-old Chinese woman who has been self-quarantined since March 10. Candace is one of the unsung founders of Y-WE and a seamstress currently making masks and surgical gowns while quarantined.
AAPIs (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) are continuing to experience hate and blame for the COVID-19 outbreak. The Surgeon General recently referred to the outbreak as a “Pearl Harbor moment” (also “9/11 moment” invoking Islamophobic rhetoric) and President Trump’s new xenophobic ad wrongly implies former Washington State governor, Gary Locke, is a Chinese National to whom Biden defers. Locke is actually a Chinese American who was born and raised in Seattle. When our leaders propagate this type of anti-Asian messaging and imagery, the consequences are immediate and severe. The nonprofit group Stop AAPI Hate has now logged over 1,100 incidents of coronavirus discrimination against AAPIs. You can help by reading and sharing. Thank you.
I am a strategist. I am an organizer. I am a neighbor. I am Taiwanese-American.
Pictured: Evelyn is a Taiwanese-American, born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i and currently residing on lands of the Duwamish people in Seattle, WA. They are a gadfly at heart, ready to bring people to action.
A couple days ago I started rolling out my portrait campaign COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma to help raise awareness around the increased racism AAPIs are facing during COVID-19. But AAPIs are not the only people of color facing increased racism for covering their faces as the CDC recommends. Black people are also facing increased racism and aggression for wearing masks, bandannas, and other coverings in public (see Aaron Thomas’s great piece above). Meanwhile, because of anti-black and oppressive systems already in place in the US for hundreds of years, Black people (and Latinx, Indigenous people, people experiencing poverty and/or homelessness, and people living with disabilities) are now disproportionately losing their lives to COVID-19. It is all part of the SAME white supremacist structure. And so, I’ve decided it’s critical to expand my campaign to include Black experiences around mask-wearing and safety during this pandemic. Thank you to my friends, the Felders, for being the first to share their images and words. Please share if you can.
We are love We are grace We are calm We are strength We are family
Donte, Bayje, Tanisha
Pictured: Donte is a longtime educator and award-winning playwright, screenwriter, director, and producer. He is a community leader and organizer who brings students and community together through media arts, storytelling, and social justice learning. He taught with Seattle Public Schools for over two decades and is currently turning his student program South End Stories into a city-and-countywide nonprofit. Tanisha is the Director of Equity and Family Engagement in the Shoreline School District. An educator in the Seattle Public Schools for 16 years, Dr. Brandon-Felder specializes in race and equity, culturally responsive practices and, primarily the achievement and opportunity gap occurring with Black and Brown students. Bayje is a 12yo student who is passionate about singing, acting, dancing, and sports. She loves her family and friends and has three mottos: (1) Be yourself because everyone else is taken, (2) Live life to the fullest, and (3) If you don’t feel it, don’t do it.
As COVID-19 has spread across the US and world, so have incidents of racial violence and hate. This has included a surge in racism against Asians and Pacific Islanders who–because the outbreak began in China–are being wrongly blamed for the coronavirus and disease it causes (viruses don’t have a race and don’t discriminate). As a Taiwanese Chinese American, it is very important to me to stand with my community during this time. COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma is my new portrait campaign to help raise awareness about rising discrimination against AAPIs (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), de-stigmatize AAPIs wearing masks, and prioritize safety overall by the public. Each post will feature different AAPI portraits and humanizing words, along with news, updates, and announcements. You can help by reading and sharing!
We are on occupied Duwamish land We are Taiwanese and Khmer-Chinese We are community members We are engaged
Yin and Rachtha
Pictured: Yin and Rachtha. Yin 英, is community organizer and protestor of gentrifiers in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. She is an immigrant from Taipei, Taiwan and grew up where the Treaty of Point Elliott was signed at Buk-wil-tee-wh (Mukilteo) of Snohomish people. Rachtha is an unofficial International District Ambassador and finder of lost children; of the Order of the Hero of the Wing Luke and the White Center Danhs. Face kicker. Gold leader. Helper.