March 7, 2020

Community, care, and how to show up for others during Covid-19

This article is no longer being updated - please refer to the OHA website for the most up to date information.

APANO would like to take a moment to honor those we have lost since the onset of the novel coronavirus. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been affected, those who have lost their lives, and those working on the ground to help prevent our families, friends, and vulnerable community members from further spread of the virus.

As we face the serious challenge of coronavirus, we urge our community to come together to combat misinformation with facts, to fight fear with compassion, and most of all, to care for those who need it most in this moment. In the past, our country has responded to public health threats with misplaced fear and discrimination against communities, including Asians and immigrants, resulting in racist policies and real harm. It comes as no surprise that this kind of xenophobia and racism has emerged again. The way the story of coronavirus has unfolded builds on the lengthy history of racializing outbreaks and targeting immigrants as health risks, including Chinese people and other Asians. Now, we all have a responsibility as the messengers to choose how we add to that narrative, whether it’s the news we share, the social media comments we make, or how we talk about coronavirus in our day to day interactions.

With many of our neighbors, friends, and family facing extra challenges due to the outbreak, how can we practice care as a community? While it’s easy to be immobilized by fear, or want to isolate yourself from others, moments like this require us to work together to protect each other - especially as the effects of the outbreak become more widely felt in Oregon. Many of us at APANO, residents of the Jade District, and Oregonians across the state have friends and family members in China and other countries where the outbreak is more widespread that we worry about. Our neighborhood low-income Chinese elders have reported being afraid to leave their homes to visit the food bank. Those already struggling to make ends meet worry about what will happen if they need medical treatment. Community members living paycheck to paycheck cannot afford to stay home or miss a shift at work when they are sick with the flu and cold. Our small businesses are losing customers and being vandalized while students report being bullied at school in Portland and beyond. Coronavirus threatens not only public health but also challenges the strength of our community. At APANO, we believe the solution is to build a culture of care by showing up for others and helping where we can, and we hope you will join us.

You can start by staying informed and getting your information from trusted sources, like your local health authorities. Report any hate or bias incidents to APANO or Portland United Against Hate. Share information responsibly and be thoughtful about your own potential bias and how it can contribute to harmful narratives. Support services like Meals on Wheels to serve those who can't leave their homes; thoroughly wash your hands and take other preventative measures; stay home to prevent the spread of Covid-19 - we know that you can still transmit the virus even if you are showing no symptoms. If you’re an employer, you can offer flexible work arrangements. If you are a parent, talk to your children about coronavirus facts and being kind to others — and don’t be afraid to explain to them how comments can be hurtful to Asian communities and our neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to illness. Support a small business, and make sure to check in on your friends, family, and neighbors to see how you can offer a hand in this time.

APANO believes that we are stronger together, and by supporting each other, we will get through this.

For the latest up to date information and multi-lingual fact sheets, please see the OHA webpage.

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.