Assemblymember Bonta, CMA President Bretan Issue Joint Statement Denouncing Racist Rhetoric Surrounding COVID-19

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

SACRAMENTO - Statement from Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and California Medical Association President Peter N. Bretan M.D.:

“President Trump’s racist dog whistle remarks have no place in our politics or in the house of medicine. Comments like those made by the president last weekend at a political rally in Tulsa, OK fuel racist stereotypes about COVID-19 that have harmful impacts in our communities and in the practice of medicine. These remarks promote hatred toward the API community.

“Asian-Americans have been at the forefront of providing quality health care to all Californians. While Californians of Asian descent make up 14 percent of our state’s population, we comprise 28 percent of the state’s physicians. The president’s racist rhetoric that he casually uses as an applause line is a direct threat and attack on California physicians, our API population and all people who believe in inclusivity, fairness and common decency.

“Over the last several months, we have seen an increase in discrimination and racist attacks against Asian American communities related to COVID-19.

We must all do our part to publicly denounce these discriminatory acts and to address heightened xenophobia during this public health emergency.

“Millions of Americans have all spent time in recent weeks reflecting on our nation’s ongoing history of racial injustice and intolerance, and how these wounds have perpetuated institutional and systemic racism in subtle and overt ways. Our nation has its own anti-API history, from the Chinese Exclusion Act in the late 1800s through the internment of Japanese-American families during World War II.  We must all do better when it comes to acknowledging and reckoning with our history. Part of our civic duty requires that we clearly speak out against prejudice and hatred, whether it comes from the house next door or the White House.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader.