COVID-19 through an Asian American Perspective

Meet the Authors

Eileen Li
MS1 University of Washington

“So much of contemporary Asian American identity discourse hyperfixates on media representation (or lack thereof), obscuring the fact that the term “Asian American” itself has radical roots in anti-racism, anti-imperialism, and anti-colonialism. I wanted to work on a project that acknowledges that history, how even within such a diverse category of “Asian American”, we’ve been racialized by the same institutions that the U.S. has used to uphold white supremacy, anti-Blackness, settler colonialism, and imperialism. That history has produced the conditions for not only the anti-Asian racism and xenophobia we’re seeing currently, but also the extremely high mortality rates from COVID-19 seen throughout Black, Brown, Indigenous, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. If we can recognize our historical roles as victims, benefactors, and perpetrators of violence, we can better center our most marginalized communities and fight for the changes necessary to protect us all."

Grace Chung
MS3 Emory University

“Throughout medical school, I found myself often wanting more from discussions surrounding diversity and racism. I felt that, too often, the conversation stopped at recognizing bias and racial disparities in healthcare but seldom delved into the pervasiveness of systemic oppression throughout history and its impact present day. My hope with this timeline is to share about Asian American history and provide a greater (historical) foundation for advocacy.”

Jungsoo Chang
MS3 Yale University

“I came to america when I was nine years old, and after many years of navigating the immigration process, I became an American citizen during medical school. Nearly every day in my rotations I had patients ask me where I was “really from” or “when I am going back” which reinforced to me that I would always be alien in America no matter where I considered home. This historical timeline is important to me as it shows that while pandemic is used as the latest excuse to legitimize discrimination, history shows us that this is not new.”

Angel Xiao
MS3 Emory University

“As an immigrant, recent “resident alien” green card holder, and medical student, I am acutely aware of the xenophobia that colors the current covid-19 pandemic. With this timeline, I hope to spark conversation on how these attitudes of exclusion and “fear of the foreigner” have been longstanding and underly a legislative and systemic form of discrimination that continues to manifest in my day to day as an Asian American. My hope is that we can learn from our history in order to advocate for our future.”