Today, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) hosted a virtual town hall on the COVID-19 crisis for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the San Gabriel Valley.
Chu was joined by Pasadena’s health director Ying Ying Goh, D Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Joyce Lam, Economic Development Program Supervisor at the Chinatown Service Center.
Chu praised Dr. Goh after the meeting.
“With the economy on hold and people staying home to protect themselves and their loved ones, the COVID-19 crisis is impacting every community in our country. And the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is no exception. But in addition to the strains we are all feeling, the AAPI community faces a number of unique challenges, including the anti-Asian bigotry this pandemic has incited. We need to make sure that everybody is able to survive this crisis together, and that is why I hosted today’s virtual town hall so that we could address these unique challenges directly.
“The one threat we all share is the threat of catching or spreading the coronavirus, even if we do not experience symptoms. As a leading local public health official, Dr. Goh was an incredibly valuable expert to help us understand the health risks to the community and how to protect ourselves.”
The town hall also covered the rise in racial attacks that have started since the outbreak.
There have been more than 1,900 incidents reported in the past few months alone.
The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council has been one of the leaders in tracking and reporting hate incidents and providing resources to the AAPI community.
The meeting also addressed the need to help AAPI-owned small businesses. Since many small businesses are started by immigrants and AAPIs are the fastest growing immigrant demographic, there are a significant number of AAPI entrepreneurs and business owners worried about their future. Congress has made support and relief available, but many of these resources have not been translated into Asian languages yet, even though we included funding for the Small Business Administration to do just that, Chu said.
“And so it meant so much to have Ms. Lam on the panel to help our AAPI business owners understand the resources available to them and how to access them.
“It is so important for me to be in touch with my constituents and to hear from them directly about their experiences and needs. The coronavirus has made my typical in-person meetings with constituents impossible, but I am glad so many were able to join us virtually in order to stay as prepared, safe, and healthy,” Chu said.