APABA's Call to Action

Thursday, July 16, 2020 1:19 PM | Anonymous

Call to Action

America's diversity is one of our greatest strengths, but recent tragedies remind us and the world that our country’s shameful history of discrimination and xenophobia continues to plague our communities. Even with significant progress, our nation’s work to achieve equality, respect, and unity is far from complete. The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (“APABA”) reiterates the principles set forth in its Statement of Solidarity and recommits itself in a call to action for lasting change.

2020 has brought to light multiple crises in our communities, including police brutality against Black lives, the racist attacks against Asian Pacific Americans related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the struggles of COVID-19 containment and its significant impact on our lives.  Regardless of ethnic backgrounds, APABA urges unity and change to combat the dangerous biases in our leaders, our institutions, and within our communities.

We call on our leaders to do better.  At a time when deep divisions separate this country, the President’s offensive and despicable rhetoric against Asian Americans not only normalizes discrimination, but incites violence.  Moreover, Norfolk City Councilmember Paul Riddick’s statement denigrating Chinese businesses is not only offensive, but is also counterproductive to the call for progress and social change.  These saddening examples only scratch the surface of a widespread problem.

We also call on our institutions to do better.  Law enforcement agencies and their unions must account for their “bad apples.” How these institutions, their leaders, and their rank-and-file choose to address these problems is of paramount importance to upholding the integrity of our justice system and way of life.  Moreover, UCLA Law professors Stephen Bainbridge’s and Eugene Volokh’s hostile remarks undercut the very values and principles in their profession, including equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

Finally, we, as members of society, call on our community to do better. The abuse against Asian Pacific Americans, such as the racist tirades against Asian Americans in Torrance and Carmel Valley, and the stabbing of an Asian American family in Texas, must never be repeated. We cannot be idle; we must not permit others around us to engage in acts of bias or intimidation with impunity.  Only then can we as a country begin to heal the wounds of injustice and make real progress toward lasting change.

Anti-Asian sentiments have led to devastating consequences in our history, from the Chinese Exclusion Act, to the Japanese American internment during World War II, and the senseless murder of Detroit autoworker Vincent Chin more than 35 years ago, and more.  We will not allow our country to go backwards.  Xenophobia and racism against Asian Pacific Americans and all minorities must stop.  The time for unity is now.  The time for change is now. 

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