Asian American Pacific Islander Individuals Weigh In On Biden Discrimination Plan

Mar 31, 2021

Members of Connecticut's Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities say they are glad to see President Joe Biden’s new plan to address the rise in hate against their communities.

Riel Cruz is with the Philippine-American Association of Connecticut. Cruz said the president’s plan is especially welcome after the brutal attack on a 65-year-old Filipino woman in New York on Sunday. He likes that the plan includes a push to celebrate AAPI cultures.

“We’re here as part of the community, we want to reach out to the greater majority just to learn more about our culture, at the same time, about what we contribute and what we bring to society. So we’re here for relationship building. I think for us, that is the best way to address this issue,” Cruz said.

Cruz said in normal times he would be organizing parades and cultural celebrations to raise awareness about the Filipino community in New Haven county.

Now, Cruz said he’s checking in on Filipino health care workers and others in the community to make sure they are staying safe.

Yale Sociologist Grace Kao said she is happy the initiatives go beyond pandemic violence, because anti-Asian bias has existed for a long time. She welcomes a push to fund National Science Foundation studies, too.

“Research on Asian American Pacific Islander communities is not really where it needs to be, partly because it’s a relatively small population. So, I’m glad that there is attention and to me that’s more sustained just beyond COVID-19,” Kao said.

Kao said she hopes the attention on bias attacks continues past a particular news cycle. She said she does not expect that after the pandemic these incidents will somehow just disappear.