UNAVSA’s Statement On COVID-19

Mar 26, 2020

Dear community members,

In the last few months, COVID-19—commonly referred to as the “novel coronavirus”—has exacerbated public health and economic crises, shuttered small businesses and public institutions, and is now labeled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as an international pandemic. Since the outbreak, we have also seen an increase in anti-Asian racist and xenophobic acts across the world. As cities and other municipalities across Canada and the United States continue to enact shelter-in-place orders and other protective policies, we understand that our communities may feel anxious or fearful during such uncertain times. 

Because COVID-19 can spread like other respiratory viruses through droplet transmission, it is important to not only practice proper hygiene, but also follow guidelines on physical distancing and social solidarity (otherwise known as social distancing.) We strongly advise referring to local and/or state public health authorities or updates from the CDC for new information regarding COVID-19, only purchasing food and supplies as needed to avoid hoarding, and prioritizing the health and well-being of service and healthcare workers. While a majority of us may easily overcome the symptoms within a short period of time, our parents, grandparents, and immunocompromised community members, are more at risk of needing hospitalization. As such, UNAVSA requests our constituents to stay at home and remain self-quarantined in order to flatten the curve and ensure healthcare systems have the capacity to treat affected individuals. 

Additionally, the increasing number of cases has fueled xenophobic media coverage and anti-Asian sentiment and racism, references to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” or “Kung Flu,” to the economic devastation of small businesses, targeted verbal and physical violence against Asians (especially of Chinese descent), escalating law enforcement and excessive policing of Asian communities, and more. UNAVSA universally denounces racist and xenophobic acts such as these, regardless of intent and magnitude, as they harm not only individual beings and households, but also entire communities and populations. Should you experience any race-related hate during this time, we recommend you submit a COVID-19 Anti-AAPI Racism Incident Report, file a legal complaint to law enforcement, or contact Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Stop Hate hotline at 1-844-9-NO-HATE as soon as possible.

We understand that our communities may feel unsafe or uncertain during this uncertain time; as such, UNAVSA—with the help of our regional representatives—has compiled a community-based resource hub that will include links of resources relevant to our constituents. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitates urgent collective action in the face of an escalating crisis, but it also requires us to remain patient, compassionate, and resilient. From all of us at UNAVSA, we care for you, we love you, and we wish you health and safety as we soldier on together.