SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As Congresswoman Doris Matsui toured a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Oak Park Friday, the virus was not the only thing on her mind.
Rep. Matsui, D-Sacramento, said it was her obligation to speak out against the growing incidents of hate directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
She believes the pandemic and the racial rhetoric surrounding it are the root of acts of hate against the AAPI community.
“The characterization of this being a ‘China virus’ has been terrible. It was unfair, it was untrue,” Matsui said.
Matsui was born in a Japanese American internment camp after a wave of racial hysteria caused the incarceration of tens of thousands of American citizens.
That’s why she chose to testify at last week’s congressional hearing on violence against Asian Americans.
“I was honored to be a part of that panel,” Matsui said. “That is a history that this area here in Sacramento understands and feels.”
Matsui said some in the AAPI community may choose to not highlight an issue that may eventually disappear on its own. She feels just the opposite.
“We have to stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute now, this is not going to go on,'” Matsui said. “And we believe it’s time for people to understand that this sense of racism has to end.”
She said the worst thing that can happen is to minimize the impact that racially-motivated violence has on communities.
Matsui also added that it’s important to find a better way of identifying and tracking incidents of hate crimes to get a better handle on its causes and how to stop them.