The Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) rejects the use of terms “Chinese virus”, “Wuhan virus” and “kung flu” to refer to COVID-19. This “otherization” of people of Asian ancestry only drives us further apart as a society and is counter-productive to promoting health and safety of our society.

Today, in Washington and nationwide, reports of hate crimes targeting Asian people are on the rise. In their best practices for naming diseases, the World Health Organization explicitly warns against naming diseases after locations, cognizant of the bigotry that could provoke. Viruses are not ethnic-specific, and people of Asian descent are no more likely than anyone else to carry or spread COVID-19. In times of uncertainty and heightened fear, all people, especially leadership, must be vigilant to not perpetuate negative stereotypes, nor promote prejudicial attitudes based upon race.

Further, by fixating upon race and country with the origin of a disease, we also fail to give proper thought as a global society to the conditions that bred the beginnings of COVID-19. Although the first case occurred in Wuhan, China, the entire world at-large must assess issues with wildlife encroachment, trade, and trafficking that promote the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Washingtonians recognize that we are members of a global community. All of us have a role in slowing the spread of disease, effectively and equitably responding to times of crisis, as well as preventing zoonotic diseases to begin with. If humankind can thoughtfully respond to the COVID-19 challenge, we can emerge from this crisis better learned and more prepared to thrive globally.

Report Discrimination

National, state, county, and city resources to report discrimination include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Mutual Aid COVID-19 Bias Incident Report Form Misinformation about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has created hostility in the form of racism and xenophobia that is hurting many of our communities, especially for Chinese and other Asian and Pacific Islander communities. If you encounter or suspect incidents of bias, please report it so we can provide support to folks and track where/when/how bias shows up in our communities.
  • Stop AAPI Hate: National Incident Report Form
  • Washington State Human Rights Commission Under the law, everyone has the right to be free from discrimination at work, in housing, in a public accommodation, or when seeking credit and insurance. Any individual who believes that he or she has been discriminated against based on protected class status may file a charge of discrimination for employers, housing providers, and businesses.
  • King County Office of Civil Rights This office has authority to handle discrimination complaints only for King County government and for employers, housing providers, and businesses in the unincorporated parts of King County (outside the cities).
  • Seattle Office for Civil Rights This office upholds laws that protect you against discriminatory harassment in housing, employment, or public places within Seattle city limits.
  • City of Spokane’s Human Rights Commission This is the appropriate point of contact if you reside in the City of Spokane.
  • Spokane County Human Rights Task Force This is the appropriate point of contact if you reside elsewhere in the Spokane County.