As a community services provider, Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) is deeply concerned about how Asian community members have been targets of a sudden increase in xenophobia and racism following the COVID-19 outbreak. Everywhere in the country, the experience has been universal. Expressions of discrimination are everywhere from the highest seats of government to the mouths of passersby. Even in San Francisco, one of the most diverse and welcoming cities in the United States, a rash of vandalism and hate speech have broken out with false accusations connecting the Asian population with the coronavirus.
As an agency that is staffed by and serves highly diverse and underresourced populations, RAMS condemns all acts of xenophobia, discrimination, and racism. The current spread of COVID-19 has no connection to ethnicity and culture. Behavior that targets some of us while the virus targets all of us is misguided and, ultimately, weakens our unified capacity to recover as a community. Many incidents go unreported. If you, or someone you know was a victim of race harassment, please contact local law enforcement and/or file a report with the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, where over a 100 such reports are made each day.
The pandemic is a crisis unlike any in recent memory. In order to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and complete strangers, it requires us to stay away from our families and friends, minimize time spent in public spaces, and mask our faces. Out of love for our people, we isolate ourselves. This has generated enormous stress on top of the paranoia that comes with a pandemic. However, the crisis has also revealed not only our desire to stay connected but also our stalwart ability to come together. People are volunteering and donating at unprecedented rates. Stories about acts of kindness constantly surface amidst the flow of stressful news. We are stronger when fear begats, not xenophobia or hate, but compassion and unity.
In its denunciation of xenophobia, discrimination, and racism, RAMS affirms its commitment to strengthening the SF Bay Area community through cultural understanding and cooperation. We call for the compassionate treatment of all people regardless of sex, age, religion, race, ethnicity, or cultural background.
To learn more about racism, its effects, and what one can do about it, please refer to the resources below.
- Understanding Racism and Its Related Stress Can Help People of Color Cope with Negative Effects – by Dr. Karen Suyemoto and colleagues
- Surviving Racism Amidst COVID-19 – by Yin J. Lin
- How to respond to microaggressions – by Hahna Yoon
- Bystander Intervention Trainings for Anti-Asian & Xenophobic Harassment