On behalf of the Seattle Chapter Japanese Americans Citizens League (JACL)
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has witnessed the rise of racist anti-Asian hate incidents. The incidents have occurred across the country and have ranged from outright violent attacks to various forms of verbal harassment and discriminatory exclusion. Asian students have been cyberbullied during their on-line school experiences. Anecdotal reports indicate some Asian students are apprehensive about returning to in-person learning. Several incidents of anti-Asian hate and bullying have taken place in the local Puget Sound area recently.
Police and governmental officials in Seattle, Bellevue and other localities have encouraged individuals experiencing or witnessing incidents to report all hate crimes, including verbal harassment, so that an accurate picture of anti-Asian hate activity can be created. Call 911 immediately in order to report instances.
In addition to reporting incidents to local law enforcement, the Seattle JACL has gathered a list of resources for families to access for support:
- Seattle Office for Civil Rights
This office upholds laws that protect you against discriminatory harassment in housing, employment, or public places within Seattle city limits.
- King County Office of Civil Rights
This office has authority to handle discrimination complaints only for King County government and for employers, housing providers, and businesses in the unincorporated parts of King County (outside the cities).
- Washington State Human Rights Commission
Under the law, everyone has the right to be free from discrimination at work, in housing, in a public accommodation, or when seeking credit and insurance. Any individual who believes that he or she has been discriminated against based on protected class status may file a charge of discrimination for employers, housing providers, and businesses.
Non-government/non-police reporting tools and resources are also available. Community members can report the incident to one of the following entities to help educate the public on what’s happening and shape policy:
At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Washington State Commission on Asian-Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) worked with community leaders and the Attorney General’s Office to develop a non-governmental reporting tool for victims of hate and bias incidents, as well as a map to track bias incidents reported through the tool.
- King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias
The Coalition is a community-led initiative to address hate and bias incidents by strengthening and networking communities who experience racist and bigoted treatment and all forms of oppression. The Coalition Partners are also the administrators of the Hate and Bias Incident Response Survey to collect data from communities affected by hate and bias.
- Stand Against Hatred
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is tracking incidents of bias. By sharing what you experienced or witnessed, you can educate the public, empower others, show service providers where help is needed, and strengthen advocacy efforts for hate crimes response and prevention. Forms available in English, Chinese (traditional & simplified), Korean and Vietnamese.
- AAPI Hate Incident Form
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Submitting hate incidents through this form will help us OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates monitor hate towards AAPIs across the country.
- Stop AAPI Hate
Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) have launched this reporting center to allow community members to report incidents of hate they have experienced. Individual information, including personal identification details, will be kept confidential and will only be shared with permission. In the aggregate, the information will be used for assistance, advocacy and education. Forms available in English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Khmer, Thai, and Japanese.
Finally, being a victim of hate and discrimination can affect mental health as much as physical health. Please encourage victims of anti-Asian hate crimes and harassment to reach out to friends and family for emotional support. The following organizations can assist with emotional/mental health resources:
- Asian Counseling and Referral Services
- National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
- Asian Mental Health Collective
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) also has a guide for victims of hate crimes: What to Do If You’ve Been The Victim of a Hate Crime.
The Seattle JACL requests that school districts post these resources in a prominent and accessible location on their websites for families, staff and students to refer to if needed.
Questions can also be directed to the Seattle Chapter JACL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Kyle Kinoshita
Board member and Civil Rights Committee Co-Chair
Seattle Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)