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Sen. Mark Warner Expresses Concern with Violence, Harassment Against Asian Americans in Wake of Coronavirus Outbreak

"In Virginia, more than 597,000 individuals identify as Asian or Pacific Islander"

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From Sen. Mark Warner’s office;

WARNER EXPRESSES CONCERN WITH VIOLENCE, HARASSMENT AGAINST ASIAN AMERICANS IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

~ In Virginia, more than 597,000 individuals identify as Asian or Pacific Islander ~ 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) expressed concern with increasing reports of harassment and violence against Asian Americans following the outbreak of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who has been tapped by the President to spearhead the nation’s response to the coronavirus, Sen. Warner requested that the coronavirus taskforce help prevent race-based attacks by dismissing discriminatory narratives and only distributing accurate information about the virus.  

“I encourage you, your coronavirus task force, and members of the Administration to share only confirmed and verifiable information about COVID-19 and dispel misinformation or discriminatory rhetoric to help prevent suspicion, panic, and race-based assaults,” wrote Sen. Warner. “Referring to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a ‘foreign virus’ that ‘started in China’ spreads xenophobia and racism, which is especially concerning as we experience a rise of domestic terrorism right here at home.”

In the letter, Sen. Warner urged the Administration to counter the narrative around COVID-19 to ensure that Americans are not made vulnerable to race-based attacks or harassment as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, nearly seven percent, or more than 597,000 Virginians, identify as Asian or Pacific Islander.

A copy of the letter is available here and below. A list of Sen. Warner’s work on coronavirus is available here.

The Honorable Michael R. Pence
Vice President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500 

Dear Vice President Pence: 

I am deeply concerned about increasing reports of verbal harassment and violent attacks against Americans of Asian descent across the country since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). I encourage you, your coronavirus task force, and members of the Administration to share only confirmed and verifiable information about COVID-19 and dispel misinformation or discriminatory rhetoric to help prevent suspicion, panic, and race-based assaults. 

Referring to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a “foreign virus” that “started in China” spreads xenophobia and racism, which is especially concerning as we experience a rise of domestic terrorism right here at home.  

We request your help to counter this narrative and help ensure Americans are not vulnerable to any kind of race-based attack or harassment as a result of this outbreak, which has been a disturbing byproduct of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Thank you for your attention to this request and I look forward to your response.