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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) issued a statement today condemning racist acts of violence against Asian American related to the coronavirus.

“The recent anti-Asian attacks have come from the simplification of our diverse community into one singular entity, the wrongful suspicion that East Asian Americans are responsible for the pandemic and carriers of COVID-19, and the perpetual foreigner stereotype which deems Asians as outsiders. These long-held stereotypes are not only harmful to our community but are a distraction from responding to this public health crisis. We are here to remind the world that we are not your scapegoat. We are not a virus. We are not the problem. Though we may be physically distant from each other now, this pandemic cannot eclipse the collective power and resiliency we have built throughout history that we will continue to harness during this moment….

Read the full statement on NAPAWF NYC’s website

Today’s COVID19 related anti-Asian hate crimes have been a few centuries in the making and are directly related to reproductive justice and systemic racism for Asian American women of color, who were in fact banned on the basis of race, and for whom race was constructed specifically around the idea that they were social and public health contaminants. (Read Diana Lu’s article “Yang Song and the Long History of Targeting Asian American Sex Work”)

From “The Exclusion of Chinese Women, 1870–1943,” Sucheng Chan in Chinese Immigrants and American Law (Ed. Charles McClain)

The text of the Page Act itself reads:

“That it shall be unlawful for aliens of the following classes to immigrate into the United States, namely, persons who are undergoing sentence for conviction in their own country of felonious crimes other than political or growing out of or the result of such political offenses, and women “imported for the purposes of prostitution. Every vessel arriving in the United States may be inspected under the direction of the collector of the port at which it arrives, if he shall have reason to believe that such obnoxious persons are on board…[shall be] ascertained by him to be of either of the classes whose importation is hereby forbidden.”

Page Act, Approved, March 3, 1875

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