Division 45 Task Force on Covid-19 Anti-Asian Discrimination and Xenophobia

Doris Chang

Doris F. Chang, Task Force Chair and Member-at-Large (Asian American Slate)

The COVID-19 global pandemic has triggered long-standing racial fears of Asian Americans as a disease-carrying “yellow peril,” resulting in widespread increases of harassment and violence towards Asian Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the country. Many members of our Division 45 family have been directly or indirectly affected by these hate crimes in our community. By early May 2020, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council’s Stop AAPI Hate incident tracking initiative had received more than 1700 reports from AAPIs in 45 states, with New York and California making up the majority of cases. Verbal harassment was most common; however, substantial numbers also reported being coughed or spat on, shunned, physically assaulted, or being barred from entering establishments. AAPI individuals and families are reporting heightened anxiety and fear, avoidance of supermarkets and other public places, and worries about the safety of their loved ones.

In response, the Division 45 Task Force on COVID-19 Anti-Asian Discrimination and Xenophobia was launched in March 2020, with the goal of developing educational tools and resources to support AAPI families and empower community activism to put an end to these acts of racial violence. The Task Force, chaired by Doris F. Chang (Member-at-Large, Asian American slate), includes Hsiu-Lan Cheng, Shaznin Daruwalla, Cixin Wang, Sherry Wang, Helen Neville, and Art Blume. We have identified two key priorities: (a) to provide resources and support to AAPI families who are directly impacted by racial trauma and xenophobia during this time, and (b) to develop tools to promote solidarity and allyship among communities of color.

In partnership with the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), our first initiative has been to develop a series of public service announcements (PSAs) consisting of infographics and companion videos to help AAPI families talk to their children and teens exposed to COVID-19-related bullying and harassment. These tools evolved out of an anti-bullying initiative spearheaded by AAPA members Cixin Wang, Ulash Dunlap, Sumie Okazaki, and Munyi Shea. One PSA  teaches parents supportive strategies including: Acknowledge the problem, Validate your child’s feelings, Reframe the incident so it is not internalized, and Report the incident to the Stop AAPI Hate portal. A second PSA instructs children and teens to Use Your WITS when facing harassment: Walk away or log off, Ignore the perpetrator, Talk it out (if safe to do so), and Seek help and support. The infographics and videos will be translated into multiple Asian languages and will be disseminated through various social media platforms, including those popular among Asian communities such as WeChat and WhatsApp. Our second initiative will situate anti-Asian discrimination against larger systemic acts of racialized violence and focus on building allyship and solidarity across communities of color.

How you can get involved: We welcome any members interested in assisting with these efforts to contact Doris Chang at dfchang@nyu.edu. We are also compiling COVID-19 resources for communities of color for the Division 45 website. If you have resources or links to share for inclusion on our webpage, please send them to the same email address. 

Acknowledge, Validate, Reframe
Use Your WITS

Focus Spring 2020

©2020 Division 45 - A Division of the American Psychological Association (APA)

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