Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

March 27, 2020

Senator Anwar, Attorney General Tong, Commissions On Human Rights and Opportunities and On Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunities Advocate for Unity after COVID-19 Asian-American Discrimination

Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), Attorney General William Tong, Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Executive Director Tanya Hughes, Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity Executive Director Steven Hernandez and Commission Co-Chairman Alan Tan joined together in a virtual press conference to denounce discrimination against Asian-Americans and call for unity in light of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

Tan said the Commission has received reports in recent weeks of cyberbullying, violent attacks and discrimination against Asian-Americans and Asian-American owned businesses. Much of that is due to inaccurate information being spread about the virus and xenophobic beliefs. Due to social distancing requirements, leaders came together on the virtual teleconferencing platform Zoom to raise awareness of this discrimination and call for an end to it.

“When we face a pandemic like this, we must come together as one,” said Sen. Anwar. “We must not allow ourselves to become divided. COVID-19 is a serious virus and we must protect everyone. To discriminate against Asian-Americans is an unacceptable response to this threat. If we unify to fight COVID, our response will be stronger.”

“Viruses do not discriminate. There is one way we are going to get through this crisis—together,” said Attorney General Tong. “We have all heard reports of fellow Americans being denied service, harassed, turned away and bullied because of their ethnicity. That is not who we are as Americans. Hate is not a cure, and racist dog whistles won’t get us more tests or ventilators. We need our leaders to stop dividing us, and unite our country behind one single mission—saving lives.”

“We call for unity in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19) and condemn racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans – or anybody for that matter – related to the pandemic,” said Tan. “We are deeply concerned that recent incidents of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans in Connecticut threaten both our collective well-being and ability to manage this crisis.”

“Emergency can bring out the best in us, and we are seeing acts of heroism, empathy and kindness throughout the State,” said Hernández. “But people are also in despair, and despair can sometimes lead to self-harm and the harm of others. We must remain vigilant and lead by example, act humanely, and work against any injustice.”

“COVID 19 has helped to place our most vulnerable populations in greater danger because of poisonous views and cowardice actions that ostracize and target certain communities without justification, creating dangerous and potentially deadly consequences,” Hughes said. “This behavior cannot be tolerated. The CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities remains vigilant in providing opportunities for persons to seek redress for discriminatory actions in housing, employment, places of public accommodation and credit. Our staff stands ready to accept and process claims electronically.”

The collective call to stop discrimination comes as reported incidents of violence and harassment against Asian-Americans have increased considering the spread of COVID-19. As one example, organizations including the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action launched the Stop AAPI HATE Reporting Center on March 19 in response to reported increases in Asian-American discrimination based on misleading information regarding COVID-19. The website has received more than 650 reports.