KSAT anchor leads discussion on bigotry against Asian American, Jewish communities amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘Unity in Diversity Amidst COVID-19’ now available for viewing on KSAT.com

SAN ANTONIO – During the pandemic, acts of bigotry and violence have erupted toward certain cultural communities, propelled by hate groups and conspiracy theories.

The Asian American and Jewish communities are two of those groups that are being targeted.

KSAT’s Courtney Friedman was invited to moderate a discussion led by the Israeli Consulate about San Antonio’s anti-hate resolution passed this summer and how it will help our region.

The hour-long discussion, “Unity in Diversity Amidst COVID-19,” can be viewed in the video player above and on the KSAT TV app.

It didn’t take long after the COVID-19 pandemic hit for blame to be hatefully placed.

“One of the nurses went to a bakery, and they refused to serve her because she is Asian and (said) she has the Chinese virus. We’ve also heard reports in the workplace of patients requesting that they not be treated or cared for by someone who is Asian,” said Dr. Maria Danet Lapiz-Bluhm, who is the co-chair of the Research Committee of the Philippine Nurses Association and an associate professor in the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio.

Anti-Semitic attacks have also increased nationwide since the pandemic started.

The panel acknowledged it might seem odd to people why the Jewish community would be lumped into blame for the pandemic. However, Gilad Katz, consul general of Israel to the Southwest, said Jewish people commonly become scapegoats, regardless of the event and its pertinence to the Jewish community.

“We have our dreadful history of persecutions -- the Holocaust, wars -- and we understand. We know we have to stand up for what we believe in. We have to share our values with other communities,” Consul General Katz said.

The Jewish community is doing that now with local Asian Americans, a group being attacked and blamed for COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China.

“Hate speech and violence towards Asian Americans have adversely impacted our lives. Unfortunately, many Asian Americans are reluctant to speak up since it’s not in our nature to bring attention to ourselves,” said Kin Yan Hui, president of the Asian American Alliance of San Antonio.

Those issues prompted the Anti Defamation League to ask cities nationwide to adopt anti-hate resolutions.

San Antonio City Council passes ‘COVID-19 Anti-Hate Resolution’

“We felt if people knew that their leaders in their own jurisdictions were standing up front and calling out these acts of hate and expressing support, that people would feel more comfortable,” said Mark Toubin, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

The San Antonio City Council unanimously voted to pass an anti-bigotry and hate speech resolution in May.

“Hatred and intolerance is a rot and it must be cut out quickly or it will grow,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

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