Statement from the National Medical Association

Decrying Hate Against the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

Silver Spring, MD – The National Medical Association (NMA) joins leaders across the country in decrying all hate crimes. We have been advocates of anti-racism, peace, nonviolence and civility since the inception of the NMA in 1895. We also decry the recent surge of hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Violence and verbal harassment targeting this community have been exacerbated by anti-Asian rhetoric and scapegoating.

We call on federal, state and local governments at every level to send the clear message that such actions will not be tolerated. We are in solidarity with victims, survivors and families who have suffered loss and pain.

American history includes deplorable examples of racism such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the U.S. incarceration of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Long-standing racist tropes about Asians as “other” are deeply disturbing, are not acceptable and should not be tolerated. These stereotypes fuel current discrimination and we all need to work towards identifying and mitigating the effects of our unconscious bias that may disadvantage or harm people.

This rise in anti-Asian violence has been incited, in large measure, by the xenophobic rhetoric and misinformation about the Coronavirus pandemic by political leaders at the highest levels of the U.S. government. We applaud President Biden’s January 26, 2021 memorandum denouncing discrimination directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and for his most recent declaration that, “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”

The NMA supports the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act introduced March 11, 2021 by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) to deter hate crimes and violence directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to include facilitating the expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes.

We must confront ignorance with information and education. We must not tolerate the racist violence and the multiple systemic crises of injustice that the COVID pandemic has laid bare. We must all respond to incidents of hate while also addressing the root causes of violence and bigotry.

As such, the NMA also supports the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, reintroduced February 1, 2021, by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) that establishes a Center on Anti-Racism in Health at the CDC, strengthens the federal government’s ability to develop anti-racist health policy and creates a Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program to apply a comprehensive public health approach to ending police brutality.

We must affirm the interconnectedness of Black and Asian communities and all people who are against hatred—and recognize that this discrimination was born of the extremism that hurts us all.

The National Medical Association is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine. The NMA is the oldest organization of African American professionals in America representing African American physicians and the patients we serve in the United States and its territories.

Respectfully,

Daniel Laroche, MD
Ophthalmology Section, National Medical Association

Leon McDougle, MD, MPH
President, National Medical Association