April 29, 2020
Contact: Nikki Metzgar
(202) 599-7642 /

Washington, D.C. — Today, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) launched a petition calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to stand with the Asian American community against the surge of racist harassment and assault targeting them in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While President Trump has used terms such as “Chinese virus” to associate the illness with persons of Asian descent, Asian Americans in D.C. have been yelled at and threatened. Asian American women, in particular, have reported twice as many instances of hate, violence, and harassment compared to men. NAPAWF members and staff have personally experienced instances of verbal harassment and abuse and their stories are available to press upon request. 

NAPAWF is putting forth a solution to this nationwide problem: Mayor Bowser should make a public statement to increase awareness of the danger facing Asian Americans and call on all D.C. residents to help create a safe environment for every person. So far, 23 organizations based in the region have signed on in support of the petition: Act To Change, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – DC Chapter, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, DC Abortion Fund, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, Human Rights Campaign, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum – DC Chapter, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, National Council of Jewish Women, National Health Law Program, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, National Women’s Health Network, People For the American Way, Planned Parenthood Advocates for DC, Maryland, and NOVA, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Center for Asian Pacific American Women, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. 

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

“Asian American women in D.C. 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 get groceries or go to work. Mayor Bowser has a critical role to play in denouncing the racist misinformation around the coronavirus and ensuring the safety of our Asian American community. We believe a community response — not a law enforcement response — will be the most effective. We’re safer if our neighbors know about the risk we’re taking every time we venture outside and are engaged in being part of the solution.”

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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.