Kamala Harris: Help Reduce Tension with China — and Bigotry Toward Asian-Americans.
A coalition of groups (each collecting signatures separately) will soon deliver this letter along with all of the lists of signers to Kamala Harris.
Dear Senator Kamala Harris:
In late September of this year, a Japanese American jazz pianist and recent first-time father, Tadataka Unno, was brutally attacked by a group of eight young people at a New York City subway station. The 40-year-old suffered serious injuries, including a broken collarbone, and it is still unclear whether he will ever be able to perform again. His safety, livelihood, and sense of belonging in his own neighborhood were taken away from him. During this grotesque attack, Unno heard the group repeatedly calling him “Chinese.”
We are deeply concerned about the rising trends of racism, xenophobia, and sinophobia in our country. The brutal attack suffered by Unno is just one example. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, members of the Asian American community have been increasingly subjected to horrifying acts of violence and hatred. This anti-Asian sentiment has been egged on by President Trump’s insistence on calling COVID19 the “China virus” or worse yet, the “Kung Flu,” and other attacks on China. It is also fed by the disparaging remarks towards China coming from the Biden campaign, such as referring to China’s President Xi Jinping as a “thug.”
We are concerned about the wellbeing of the Asian community at home, and we are also concerned about the new Cold War with China that stokes growing militarism and could lead to a catastrophic “hot war” between two nuclear-armed states.
We are calling on you, Senator Harris, to urge the Biden team to stop fomenting a conflict with China that feeds the Cold War abroad and anti-Asian attacks at home.
Senator Harris, you are making history as the first Black Asian American on a major party ticket. You were the first district attorney in San Francisco to adopt a Chinese name in order to make your community feel more included. You are loved and admired by many members of the Asian-American community, particularly by marginalized groups that have experienced the harsh realities of racism. Now, we ask you to stand with the Asian communities throughout the nation by pushing the Biden team to recognize that China is Not Our Enemy.
As peace activists, we see an unfortunate repetition of the racism that has plagued the Muslim community since the time of the 9/11 attack and the Iraq invasion. Racism and war reinforce each other and create a spiral of violence that gains a life of its own.
Racism against the Asian American community in this country is not new. We have only to look at “Yellow Peril” attacks against Chinese workers that led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act barring Chinese immigration and naturalization. The imprisonment of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World World II remains an unhealed wound for that community. Given that the seeds of anti-Asian sentiment are embedded in our history, this new round of racism is particularly alarming and must stop immediately.
Our hope is that with your help, a Biden-Harris administration would put an end to this new cold war and instead usher in a period of true peace with China and all our Pacific neighbors. That, in turn, would help bring security and justice to our Asian American community.
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P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
Background: The China Post: Kamala Harris Unveils Meaning, Story Behind Chinese Name