March 4, 2021

The rise in anti-Asian racist incidents in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic—including violent attacks on older Asians, at least one attack leading to death—is an alarming development that requires urgent response at every level.

Inflamed by racist rhetoric from the former administration in Washington, D.C., people looking for scapegoats for the pandemic have verbally and physically harassed Chinese Americans and those of Asian ancestry generally.

The leadership team at the University of Washington School of Social Work deplores these racist incidents and the intolerance that leaves millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders feeling vulnerable and targeted during an already deeply stressful time.

We call on the nation and all communities to provide emotional support, safety and care to those who have been subject to these traumatic experiences and to remain vigilant in protecting the well-being of our Asian American and Pacific Islander friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues. 

As a community of social workers, researchers and change agents, the UW School of Social Work has a key role to play in making these hateful acts visible and advocating for change. 

  • As researchers, we support our associate dean for faculty excellence, David Takeuchi, and his colleagues, who work in broad coalition through the AAPI COVID-19 Needs Assessment Project to document the devastating consequences of hate crimes on those who have been targeted and to call for systemic reforms. 
  • As members of the UW community, we ask everyone to report acts of discrimination and better understand how to intervene when we witness xenophobic harassment. 
  • As individuals, we commit to providing emotional support, safety and care to those who have been subject to these traumatic experiences. 

Through caring support, research, reporting and advocacy, we can join together to help one another, hasten critical responses, inform important policy initiatives, and end the unrelenting racist attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islanders.