Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington: Creating Community for All

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington: Creating Community for All

Community | May 18th, 2021

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This article is possible thanks to members of Community Health Plan of Washington’s (CHPW) Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

The AAPI community includes many different countriescultures, and experiences—EasAsianSouth AsianPacific Islander, first-generation immigrant, longtime American citizens, and much more. Thank you for your time and generosity. 

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in Washington have faced unique challenges and forms of racism over time. 

Some of these include:

  • Chinese Exclusion Act: A United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers.
  • Seattle Riot of 1886: Seattle’s Chinese residences were violently forced out of their homes and onto ships due to anti-Chinese sentiment and accusations of taking away jobs. 
  • Redlining: The practice of denying bank loans and home purchases has affected the Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese communities. Redlining was legal in Seattle until 1968. 
  • Internment: Anti-Japanese racism escalated to the United States’ policy of Japanese internment during World War IIMany Japanese residents of Washington were held at the Puyallup fairgrounds, or transported to California and interned there. 

Although the AAPI community in Washington have faced many obstacles, they have responded to this treatment with resilience and empathy

Here are some notable AAPIs from Washington: 

In addition, our partner Community Health Center, International Community Health Services (ICHS), was founded by AAPI activists to bring quality health care to their communities. ICHS was a founding member of the Community Health Plan of Washington to increase health coverage for their patients.

Condemning racism, xenophobia and intolerance

While the AAPI community has always faced discrimination and violence, this has significantly increased in the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understandably, there is a lot of grief and trauma in the community. CHPW seeks to raise awareness of this troubling increase in hate crimes and call upon us all to speak out against hate and the underlying causes of intolerance.

Looking for ways to support your AAPI neighbors?

Here are some organizations in Washington to know about:

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