March 30, 2020


NAPAWF Contact: Nikki Metzgar
(202) 599-7642 /

CAPAW Contact: Sue Ann Hong
(309) 287-6240 /


Washington, D.C. — A new study by the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action details more than 650 direct reports of discrimination against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people since March 19. These incidents of discrimination range from racial slurs to being barred from businesses to cases of physical abuse. AAPI women have reported three times more instances of harassment than men. 

The President himself, along with other elected officials, have taken to referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese Virus” and using other racial slurs fueling hate crimes against AAPIs through the association of the illness with persons of Asian descent across the nation, against the World Health Organization’s recommendation.

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement in response:

“Not only are AAPI people staying in our homes because we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but now we are increasingly alarmed that we’ll be targeted with harassment and violence because of our race, ethnicity, or national origin if we step outside to obtain necessities or work at our essential jobs, including in health care. This appears to be especially true for AAPI women who, because of our gender, are painfully aware every minute even under normal circumstances, we could be subjected to sexual harassment, physical intimidation, or assault. 

“The ‘model minority’ myth invisiblizes the AAPI community until there’s a need for someone to scapegoat — then we are to blame for the administration’s failure and the thousands of lives needlessly lost because officials were busy being careless and racist instead of preparing our nation for a pandemic. Let me be clear: we are not to blame. The virus does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, or national origin and our government officials must stop using racist language and publicly denounce hate crimes against us.”

The Center for Asian Pacific American Women’s President & CEO Sue Ann Hong issued the following statement in response:

Asian American Businesses, especially owned by women play an increasingly important role in the U.S. economy.  Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) own 6.2% of all small businesses in the U.S, employing more than 3.5 million people.  In 2018, 1.1 million Asian American businesses were owned by women, up by 7% from 2016, yet AAPI women continue to face disproportionate challenges in several ways, including discrimination during the Coronavirus pandemic.  

With shelter-in-place policies, AAPIs are more likely to face Coronavirus discrimination in businesses, especially stores and it’s taking a toll on businesses.  It’s unacceptable that AAPI women are three times more likely to report harassment than men, according to data collected by Dr. Russell Jeung, PhD at San Francisco State University.  These are hard working women, business owners, leaders and contributing members of society who deserve respect and support. Verbal harassment and shunning cause fear that negatively impacts the safety of the AAPI community and the economy. This is the time for communities to come together, support one another and fight the true enemy, and that’s the pandemic.”

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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.

The Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) strives to nurture Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities by expanding leadership capacity, fostering awareness of AAPI issues, creating a supportive network of AAPI women leaders and strengthening community.