Last week, a Sanctuary staff member told me about a distressing experience she had with a trafficking survivor who needed in-person assistance. Our staff member and her client were both of Asian descent and as they walked down the street, following proper social distancing etiquette, a passerby verbally accosted them and accused them of spreading Coronavirus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, discrimination against people of Asian descent has increased dramatically. Numerous staff members at Sanctuary have reported our Asian and Asian-American clients have experienced some form of discrimination or feel unsafe going out in public. Of the nearly 250 bias incident complaints reported to New York City’s Commission on Human Rights since February, 42% were directed at Asian-Americans. Countless more unreported incidents have occurred. This is, unfortunately, part of a long history of discrimination and bias perpetrated against Asian Americans in this country.
This is not who we, as a City, are.
Sanctuary for Families strongly condemns the reprehensible actions by those few who seek to scapegoat Asian and Asian-American communities. These are trying times for everyone, and hate and discrimination have no place here. At Sanctuary, our staff are reaching out to Asian and Asian-American clients, offering counseling and other supportive services to those who are experiencing heightened anxiety or stress due to the threat or experiences of harassment.
We hope you will join us in supporting and standing in solidarity with our Asian and Asian-American friends, family, neighbors, and communities. Learn how you can safely and effectively intervene when you witness harassment and share these posts from the Immigrant History Initiative online with your communities to ensure we’re all more prepared to step in and support victims.
Wishing you and your family health and safety during these difficult times.
Hon. Judy H. Kluger
Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families