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Xenophobia is still spreading like the virus. Just late last month, the growing anti-China sentiment revealed itself in white chalk near the National Zoo: “China is criminal.”

Individuals who are perceived to be Chinese are bearing the brunt of this xenophobia and being harassed. The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council received nearly 1,500 reports of coronviarus discrimination from Asian Americans nationwide within one month of launching its STOP AAPI HATE center. A majority reported being verbally harassed. Reports, between March 19 and April 15, came from 45 states and D.C. 

While it’s not discussed as often as it was when the coronavirus first took hold in the United States, Da Hae Kim, who lives in D.C., says she still faces ongoing discrimination. Below is an interview with her:   

Describe the last time you were harassed because of your ethnicity.

A few weeks ago, I stepped outside my apartment and crossed the street to where my partner’s car was parked, about to head out for a drive together after working from home all day. I wasn’t really paying attention to my surroundings, dazed from a day of sitting in front of my laptop, until I heard my partner say something like, “What are you saying?” to a nearby woman. It took me a moment to register but she was shouting, “Y’all started it!” over and over. Then, I noticed she was looking at me, not at him. My partner and I were both wearing masks, so it took her a moment to notice my partner isn’t Asian and stop yelling. She made a face that read, “Oops,” laughed, and ducked into the passenger side of the car parked behind ours. A man was seated on the driver’s side, laughing. Sitting in the car, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to make the situation worse but also wanted to stand up for myself. But at this point, I’ve seen enough photos online of bloodied Asian faces.

How fearful are you of your safety these days?

I am hyper aware of my surroundings now. I’ve limited going out to help flatten the curve since the beginning of the stay at home order, but now I limit going outside even more. When I do go out, I’ve been walking out with my partner and avoided going out alone. My heart beats really fast when I walk past someone and I feel myself actively avoiding all eye contact. I feel myself getting smaller. 

Were you ever harassed prior to the pandemic? 

In the past, I have been harassed on the streets with someone following me or calling out inappropriate things at me because of my gender. But in my adulthood, I am lucky in that I have never been directly targeted because of my race.

How can the city better support you during these times?

We need Mayor Bowserto speak up, denounce racist attacks and misinformation surrounding the coronavirus, and call for the entire D.C. community to look out for each other in this time of difficulty. Everyone can be engaged in being part of the solution by not perpetuating the stereotypes and coming together to create a safe environment for Asian Americans.


The strategy to blame China started in the nation’s capitol weeks ago. President Donald Trump’s repeated use of the term “Chinese virus” during his own press conferences is just one example of that. His supporters appear to be listening. Republican lawmakers are going as far as introducing legislation to punish China. 

Early on during her own pressers, Bowser denounced xenophobia against Asian Americans. But xenophobia has not let up since Bowser publicly addressed the issue over a month ago. That’s why the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, of which Kim is a member, is calling on Bowser to address the rise in anti-Asian harassment. Last week, the organization launched a petition calling on Bowser to make a public statement to increase awareness of the danger facing this community. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips?

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips?

  • There is no press conference on COVID-19 because the mayor is doing media apparences. 

  • D.C. reported six additional deaths and 152 new positive cases, as of May 4. This brings the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 to at least 264. While black residents make up 46 percent of the total population, they make up 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths. As of Monday, 5,322 of the 24,329 individuals tested for COVID-19 turned up positive results. [EOM

  • The Latinx community has the highest rates of COVID-19 infections, with 1,200 cases per 100,000 residents. [WJLA]

  • A quarter of COVID-19 deaths in D.C. are among residents living in long-term care facilities. [Twitter]  

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips?

  • Participate in our voters’ guide by telling us what you want us to ask local politicians. [WCP]

  • Meet D.C.’s contact tracers. [WAMU]

  • AG Karl Racine is suing a Ward 7 convenience store for price gouging. [OAG]

  • Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, a physician, wants some businesses and churches open immediately. [Post]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips?

  • Award season is here for the hospitality industry. Here’s who reeled in accolades Monday. [WCP]

  • Trump ignores a question from Soupergirl founder Sara Polon about testing protocols. [Washingtonian]

  • Virginia restaurants could be allowed to partially reopen to diners as early as May 15. [Post]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips?

  • The Kennedy Center extends postponements through Aug. 9, including its summer Hamiltonperformances. [DCist]

  • WAMU will name its new 1Ahost on Thursday. [Washingtonian]

  • How local playwright Patrick Flynn uses his podcast to connect with other quarantined artists. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips?

  • Longtime Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins has been named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the commentary category for “columns that marshal a broad knowledge of history and culture to remind the sports world of its responsibility to uphold basic values of equity, fairness and tolerance.” [Poynter, Washingtonian]

  • The National Women’s Soccer League is allowing players to do individual workouts on team fields starting Wednesday, May 6. The Spirit’s homebase is currently the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • Washington quarterback Alex Smith finds it “hard to imagine” that his former San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been on an NFL roster since 2016. [Bleacher Report]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips?

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