CHICAGO (CBS) — In his address to the nation about the coronavirus pandemic Thursday evening, President Joe Biden touched on a sensitive and discriminatory aspect of the pandemic – the acts of racism, and some acts of violence, against Asian-Americans.
The president said Asian-Americans have been “scapegoated” and “forced to live in fear.”READ MORE: University Of Chicago Police Officer Who Shot Man In Hyde Park Shootout Also Shot Student In 2018
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, people were pleased in Chinatown to hear the call to stop the harassment.
COVID-19 has hit Chinatown double. The businesses were forced to shut down like many across the city, but many customers were hesitant to come back to the area – not to mention the discrimination those in the Asian-American community said they have endured.
As the country marks one year since the official start of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden’s address to the nation hit close to home for those in the Asian-American community.
“One of the burdens that Asian-Americans have in this country is that we’re perennially seen as others; as foreigners – and so we often feel that we don’t belong and we don’t feel welcome,” said Grace Chan-McKibben of the Coalition for a Better Chinese-American Community, “and this certainly doesn’t help.”
Chan-McKibben said the discrimination Asian-Americans in Chicago and across the country have endured since COVID spread has been discouraging.
“Certainly, the former president did not help,” she said.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Bitter Cold, But Snow Is On The Way
Former President Donald Trump often called the novel coronavirus the “China virus” – which Chan-McKibben said resulted in blatant acts of racism.
“I have friends and others in the community that have had people look the other way, or cross the street, or mumble something about the virus or the people,” Chan-McKibben said.
On Thursday night, President Biden said “enough.”
He said Asian-Americans “still are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
“That’s very encouraging and gives us hope, and his words mean something – and hopefully, people will hear it,” Chan-McKibben said.
President Biden added Asian-Americans are also on the front lines trying to save lives too.MORE NEWS: Chicago Auto Show's First Look For Charity Gala Fundraiser Set For Feb. 11
Thankfully, Chicago has not seen reports of people getting attacked. But that sadly has happened in other parts of the country.