March 11, 2021
Contact: Seri Lee,

INDIANAPOLIS — Today, the Indiana Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum delivered 1,900 petition signatures to Governor Holcomb asking him to address the rise in anti-Asian harassment and violence occurring across the state. State senators J.D. Ford, Fady Qaddoura, & Shelli Yoder; state representatives Cherrish Pryor & Blake Johnson; Indianapolis city councilors Kristin Jones, Crista Carlino, Ethan Evans, & Zach Adamson; and Columbus city councilor Elaine Hilber have all signed on in support. 

32 organizations and institutions based in the state have joined our call for action including Indiana University, the City of Bloomington, Butler University, Indiana American Chinese Association, Hoosier Action, Faith in Indiana, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network, Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, Indivisible NWI, Count US IN, Immigration Justice Task Force, Women4Change, and Indiana NOW. “We are proud to support the NAPAWF’s petition,” said James Wimbush, IU’s vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs; dean of The University Graduate School; and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “Asian American’s have faced increased levels of discrimination as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am proud to join others in requesting the protections and preventative measures to ensure their safety.”

March 11 marks the one-year anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic and the beginning of a surge in anti-Asian harassment and violence. According to a PerryUndem 2020 post-election survey, 1 in 6 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters say they or a family member have faced racism related to COVID-19. The targets of these incidents have often been elders, women, or low-income people. In the last year, Asian American women have consistently reported 2-3x more incidents of racist harassment and violence than men. Indiana is no different, with documented incidents in Plymouth, Chesterton, Martinsville, Mooresville, and more.

NAPAWF Indiana is urging Gov. Holcomb to (1) publicly recognize and condemn these acts of hate; (2) implement procedures and programs to support AAPI communities, without escalating law enforcement; and (3) establish a statewide advisory committee for AAPIs. 

NAPAWF Indiana Co-Chair, Melanie Castillo-Cullather, issued the following statement:

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders cannot do this alone. We need everyone in our Hoosier state to stand against racism together. This campaign is important and close to my heart because it allows our community to work in partnership. AAPI people and other people of color in Indiana have been treated differently in their workplaces, schools, places of worship, and on the streets because of how they look. These racial discriminatory acts are casual, overt, implicit, and explicit. Many are afraid to share their stories and won’t report their experiences because they are scared, while others have lost trust in the institutions they thought would protect them. Through this campaign, we can show our fellow Hoosiers that we’re behind them, we care for them, and we’re going to help make Indiana a better place to live and work.”

NAPAWF Indiana Co-Chair, Shruti Rana, issued the following statement:

“As we reach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Hoosiers have suffered losses, and we are ready to think about how we can join together to build a better future. One of the most devastating effects of the pandemic has been the dramatic spike in discrimination, bigotry, and violence towards AAPI Hoosiers, part of a nation-wide trend. We know that children have been bullied at school, and families going outdoors and employees going to work have faced hostility, verbal abuse, and violence. Although thousands of such incidents have been reported nation-wide, we also know that these reports are only the tip of the iceberg as most are not reported or addressed. We also know that strong leadership, committed to uniting and respecting all of our communities, can make a tremendous difference. We urge Gov. Holcomb and our state’s leadership to take action now to condemn anti-Asian hate and support all Hoosiers in addressing the causes and consequences of anti-AAPI bigotry and violence.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.