Media Contact

Sarah Khan, ACLU of Michigan, 248-894-6766,
Eva Lopez, ACLU National, 773-574-8529,

April 28, 2020


DETROIT, Mich.  — The ACLU of Michigan and six American Civil Liberties Union affiliates sent letters to state and local officials across the country urging public responses to the increasing incidents of harassment, discrimination, and attacks on Asians in America amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In two weeks alone, there were over 1,100 reports of bias-based attacks on Asians in America.

In the letter, the ACLU of Michigan calls on all state House and Senate members and 18 mayors who serve significant Asian populations to support their constituents by stating that Asians are an integral part of their communities. In addition, the letter asks officials to publicly denounce attacks against Asian communities, and the scapegoating of Chinese community members in particular.

The comments below are from the following:

Kimberly Buddin, policy counsel at ACLU of Michigan: “Using inaccurate terms in this pandemic to reference COVID-19 spreads misinformation, distracts from the realities of this pandemic, and creates an unsafe environment for our Asian communities. As the Trump administration continues to use xenophobic rhetoric, it is more important than ever that state and local officials speak out against the prejudice, discrimination, and attacks against Asians in our communities.”

Manar Waheed, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU:No amount of fear justifies the prejudice, discrimination, and attacks against Asians that we are seeing today. Racist scapegoating has a long and ugly history that has impacted countless communities of color. It is critical that Asian people feel safe, especially in these extraordinary times, so we have to make sure local officials are making clear that any anti-Asian sentiment is un-American.”