Statement in the wake of the coronavirus

ICHS President and CEO Teresita Batayola speaking on the importance of not discriminating against people in our community wearing masks and furthering stigma at a news conference held at Asian Counseling and Referral Service on Feb. 7. Courtesy King County Public Health.

Immigrant and refugee community leaders and organizations urge everyone to know the facts about the coronavirus, not to stigmatize individuals and families from particular groups, and to speak out against bias and harassment.

After the international news broke about the coronavirus and Washington’s first case confirmed on January 21, immigrant and refugee community leaders and organizations have noticed an alarming increase in bias and harassment against our Asian American communities. We are deeply concerned about the adverse impact and ask everyone to have accurate information about the coronavirus, including what are the appropriate precautions to take to prevent the illness.

Reliable and factual information is available online from our local and state public health officials and from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Currently, there is no threat of a coronavirus outbreak in Washington state and King County. We are encouraging everyone to practice preventative measures, like those for the common flu or a cold that includes proper handwashing with soap and water and covering your cough or sneeze in your elbow. If you are ill, stay home and seek healthcare.

For those who may or already have confronted bias or harassment, there are resources, including in some cities, ways to report to local law enforcement an incident of bias. Please check online for additional information. We encourage everyone to promote correct information about the coronavirus, its risk and transmission, and the importance of not stigmatizing a group based on background or country of origin.

Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – King County
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – Snohomish County
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – Yakima
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Asian Pacific Directors Coalition
Chinese Information and Service Center
Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color
Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition
India Association of Western Washington
International Community Health Services
Interim CDA
King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission
OneAmerica
Pacific Islander Health Board