The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is set to pass a resolution denouncing xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment of any kind, which it says has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the epicenter of the outbreak is in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei Province in China, according to public health officials, phrasing of the outbreak as the “Chinese virus,” including by President Donald Trump, have been criticized as stoking racism and hate crimes. That places the roughly 30 percent of San Mateo County resident who are of Asian heritage as potential victims of hate crimes, according to the Board of Supervisors’ resolution.
“COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial one and characterizing COVID-19 as a ‘Chinese Virus’ only encourages hate crimes and incidents against Asian Americans at a time when communities should be working together to get through this crisis,” the resolution states.
As recently reported in Climate, anti-Asian graffiti has been recently posted on highway signage, and San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals says he’s heard anecdotally of about a dozen verbal exchanges and graffiti. A study tracking reports of alleged hate crimes across the country since the start of the pandemic tallied 1,135 reports in the first two weeks, with incidents largely involving verbal harassment and shunning but also including physical assaults. On April 10, 2020, the San Mateo County Asian Pacific Islanders
Caucus and peninsula leaders issued a statement denouncing racism and xenophobia.
“It is critical that the County take leadership and stand in solidarity with its Asian American communities to send a message that discriminatory and hate motivated behavior will not be tolerated,” the resolution states. “All people are encouraged to report such xenophobic or discriminatory incidents to the proper authorities for investigation.”
For more information, visit the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors website.