Press release: NAPAWF Indiana Reboots Petition to Call on Gov. Holcomb to Take Action Against Anti-Asian Racism

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian Monday:


February 6, 2023

Contact: April Hennessey, [email protected]; Katherin Chi, [email protected]

NAPAWF Indiana Reboots Petition to Call on Gov. Holcomb to Take Action Against Anti-Asian Racism

INDIANAPOLIS — Two years since its first launch of the petition, and having met with silence from Governor Holcomb, the Indiana Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum reboots its 2021 petition urging the governor to (1) publicly recognize and condemn these acts of hate against Hoosier Asians and Asian Americans; (2) implement procedures and programs to support AAPI communities, without escalating law enforcement; and (3) establish a statewide advisory commission for AAPIs.

Since the first launch of the petition, Asian American Hoosiers have endured a slew of troubling hostilities. The Sikh community suffered a horrific mass shooting at the Indianapolis FedEx facility. Purdue University students, staff, and faculty were subjected to “mock Asian” gibberish uttered by the Northwest campus Chancellor during a commencement ceremony. A young Asian American woman was stabbed on a Bloomington bus for being “Chinese.”

“The issue of anti-Asian racism has received attention from government officials at federal level and in other states and localities, but we haven’t seen the same level of commitment from our leaders here in Indiana. Asian American Hoosiers deserve better,” says NAPAWF Indiana chapter co-chair Melissa Borja. “It is imperative that the governor and the leadership of Indiana take official action to condemn the acts of hate and violence against AAPI Hoosiers and begin to build a robust policy, program, and organizational infrastructure to ensure that AAPI Hoosiers are able to thrive in a safe, just and inclusive environment.”

More than 3,000 Hoosiers across the state signed NAPAWF Indiana’s 2021 petition, including State senators J.D. Ford, Fady Qaddoura, & Shelli Yoder; state representatives Cherrish Pryor & Blake Johnson; Indianapolis city councilors Kristin Jones, Crista Carlino, Ethan Evans, & Zach Adamson; and Columbus city councilor Elaine Hilber.

Over 50 organizations and in organizations and institutions based in the state have joined our call for action in 2021, including Indiana University, the City of Bloomington, Butler University, Indiana American Chinese Association, Hoosier Action, Faith in Indiana, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network, Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, Indivisible NWI, Count US IN, Immigration Justice Task Force, Women4Change, and Indiana NOW.

“We are calling on all community members to sign our petition to urge our state’s leadership to stand against racism together,” says NAPAWF Indiana co-chair Michelle Waugh Dahl. “AAPI Hoosiers want to feel safe in public spaces, worksplaces, schools and places of worship, and we are asking everyone to work in partnership with us to push for official action from Governor Holcomb to support our community and address the causes and consequences of anti-AAPI bigotry and violence.”

March 11, 2023 marks the three-year anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic and the beginning of a surge in anti-Asian harassment and violence. According to NAPAWF’s 2022 State of Safety Report, 74% of AANHPI women reported experiencing racism and/or discrimination over the last twelve months. Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 11,500 hate incidents targeting Asian Americans in the 2 years since March 2020. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that hate crimes against Asian Americans increased 145% in the largest cities in the United States in the first year of the pandemic.

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The NAPAWF Indiana is a community of women, girls, and allies of all genders and ages building a sense of belonging and lifting the voices of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander women and girls in Indiana. We provide resources to support each other and take action on issues affecting Asian American and Pacific Islander Hoosiers.

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