April 24, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Queens Assembly Member Ron Kim and Brooklyn Senator Kevin Parker are calling on the mayor and schools chancellor to add anti-bullying lessons to the curriculum for New York City public school students.
The lawmakers said the lessons are needed as hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans have risen across the city during the coronavirus pandemic in a letter to the mayor and chancellor yesterday.
In one incident last month, a man dressed in camo assaulted a 47-year-old man — who was with his 10-year-old son — on Queens Boulevard in an apparent hate crime.
The bigot repeatedly yelled anti-Asian remarks like “You f–king Chinese” and “Where’s your f–king mask” and shoved the father’s head before fleeing.
Kim and Parker said the Department of Education should create a virtual lesson plan on anti-bullying and anti-hate for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade immediately.
They worry that discrimination towards Asian Americans will continue long after the pandemic ends.
“We believe that this trend of anti-Asian sentiment will continue even after this health crisis,” the lawmakers wrote. “President Trump’s persistent anti-immigrant and anti-China statements and actions have made New Yorkers of Asian descent increasingly vulnerable scapegoats for racial animosity.”
As we see more hatred & violence against Asians, @SenatorParker and I are asking @NYCMayor @DOEChancellor to direct @NYCSchools to spend a day on teaching our youth about #Covid_19 & overcoming hatred by building solidarity.
— Ron T. Kim (@rontkim) April 24, 2020
President Donald Trump has come under fire for referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” because it originated in Wuhan, China.
Several Queens politicians denounced the president’s comments as racist.
Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee – the first borough president of Asian descent in the City of New York – said that the use of the term is extremely problematic.
“It emboldens the discrimination, harassment and targeting of many Americans,” Lee said. “Calling it a ‘Chinese virus’ instead of the accurate term ‘COVID-19’ inflames racism, empowers xenophobia, and resurrects ‘yellow peril’ perceptions that endanger Americans, including American citizens like myself.”
Council Member Peter Koo reiterated Lee’s point.
“Not only does trying to normalize the term ‘Chinese coronavirus’ recklessly go against their official definition of the virus, but it inflames racial tensions,” Koo said. “This is not a virus that affects one country or one group of people. Coronavirus is worldwide. We must fight it as one.”
Most cases of the virus came to the U.S. from people traveling from Europe — not China or other Asian countries, research shows.