Editor’s Note: This blog was originally posted in the Puget Sound Business Journal on May 29, 2020.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when we celebrate the contributions of Asian culture that shaped the Pacific Northwest in many ways. This year, the particular toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities forces us to also face the institutional racism that has made AAPI communities more vulnerable to crisis, and ask what are we doing to reverse it. We need an intervention now. While COVID-19 touches every community around the world, the early focus on China’s Wuhan province outbreak meant that AAPI communities faced blame, anti-Asian racism, physical violence and severe economic retribution, while also dealing with a health emergency.