The Port of Portland’s Asian and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group and leadership shared a letter with employees condemning the recent rise in brutal, xenophobic and racist attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Portland and around the country. Below is a summary of that letter, along with community resources to combat racism and discrimination.
Dear Port of Portland Community,
As the world continues to reel from the hurt and grief brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Portland Asian Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group (API ERG) is devastated by the skyrocketing surge in brutal, xenophobic and racist attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) communities across the country. There have been more than 2,500 incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes reported between March and September 2020. As our friends at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) have said: “Words matter. The increase of hateful, racist rhetoric targeting Asian Americans during the COVID pandemic creates real harm.” Phrases such as the “China Virus” have irresponsibly placed blame on APIs everywhere. While our hearts are heavy, our spirits are unwavering in condemning these hateful actions and demanding justice.
In addition to these acts of intolerance, we would be remiss to not acknowledge other impacts of the pandemic on the API community. Asian Americans have been at higher risk of infection and death, and rising xenophobia has worsened mental health. Asian Americans have also experienced an earlier decline in business and employment. Certainly, the pandemic has only exacerbated an ugly history of anti-Asian xenophobia and racism in this country.
Looking ahead, we must work together to address our linked struggle with the Black, Indigenous and People of Color community for racial justice. We call on leaders to hold their organizations accountable in creating an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging and prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We call on our colleagues, friends and neighbors to become active bystanders by addressing jokes, slurs, and comments that perpetuate racial inequities.
Together, let’s continue to commit ourselves to combatting racism and discrimination.
Asian Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group Leadership &
Bobbi Stedman, Chief Administrative & Equity Officer, API ERG executive sponsor
- President Biden’s Memo on Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States
- Hollaback!’s trainings on bystander intervention
- APANO condemns pandemic-linked anti-Asian hate and bias incidents
- To report incidents, contact the Portland United Against Hate: www.reporthatepdx.com; Oregon Department of Justice’s Bias Response Hotline: 1-844-924-BIAS, 711 for Oregon Relay and/or www.StandAgainstHate.Oregon.gov