Anti-Asian racism statement
International Community Health Services (ICHS) condemns racism and discrimination in all forms upon all marginalized communities. ICHS particularly denounces the increased violence targeting Asians and Asian Americans.
Our communities have suffered waves of racism, xenophobia and violence for three centuries. Starting with the anti-Chinese riots and mobs in the 1800s that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, the riots in the 1920s and 1930s that considered Filipinos a threat to racial stability, the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Ku Klux Klan attacks on Vietnamese communities in Texas in the 1970s, the 1980s assaults on Koreans in in Los Angeles and New York, the flaming of Islamophobia post 9/11, and in the last several years, the increased deportation of Southeast Asians on arcane and arbitrary causes — all are stark examples of American racism.
Donald Trump fanned racism against all communities of color, and in the last year, disturbingly singled out and mocked the Chinese as the cause of the pandemic. Hate speech, harassment, and acts of violence have spread in businesses, on the streets and public spaces, and digitally on social media. Asians and Asian Americans have been specifically targeted. The Stop AAPI Hate Project reported 3,800 anti-Asian incidents of violence since March 2020 with women reporting 68% of the incidents. We know many more Asians and Asian Americans of different age groups have been driven to silence and the suppression of their experiences of racism due to fear and intimidation.
This past year our staff, patients, families and community members have been subjected to name calling, verbal and physical assaults, viral shaming, and even rendered invisible and inconsequential. The killings on March 16 in Atlanta of six Asian American women working to support their families or themselves are the most extreme example of anti-Asian hate, a continuation and expansion of racist actions against Black, Indigenous and Latinx peoples. Just as Asian Americans coalesced with the civil rights movement of the 60s and the murder of Vincent Chin in the 80s, we must continue to work in solidarity and unity with Black, Indigenous, and people of color to confront institutional and individual racism.
ICHS was founded 48 years ago by community activists and students who deplored the lack of health care for elderly immigrant Chinese and Filipinos. Since the beginning, our mission was as much about treating underserved Asian immigrants living in the International District as it was interrupting the systemic racism that denied health to communities of color. We have grown to serve and embrace many marginalized communities in addressing systemic barriers to health. Our legacy obliges us to keep fighting for social justice, challenging racism and championing health equity.
As we continue to fight the COVID-19 disease and help our patients and communities recover, it is critical that we recognize COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, especially Black, Latinx and Pacific Islander communities.
We must all be committed to do the hard work to stop racism and discrimination. ICHS has an anti-racism committee that is in the midst of engaging a consultant to assist us with training, educating and developing a road map for ICHS to embed diversity, equity and inclusion in all parts of the organization.
Racism is a public health crisis. Improving health outcomes requires addressing structural barriers and circumstances that harm our patients and communities. We must continue to work collectively for human and civil rights, examine our own racial biases and privileges, and extend our support to members of our community who no longer feel safe. As a health care organization, we must continue to live, defend, and grow our vision and mission.
Adopted by the ICHS board of directors on March 25, 2021.