Anti-Asian bias: What parents need to know

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Christine Liu

On Thursday Sept. 10 at 7 p.m., North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center and the Great Neck Chinese Association will be co-hosting a free webinar titled “Anti-Asian Bias: What Parents Need to Know.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a substantial increase in acts of bias against Chinese Americans and other Asian-Americans around the country,” said Kevin Sun, co-president of the Great Neck Chinese Association. “And it’s happening right here on Long Island. Kids and adults are being verbally harassed, spit on and shunned in stores. It’s a very concerning situation.”

While many families have shared stories with him about these incidents of racial bias, one was particularly heartbreaking. “The parents of a seven-year-old boy told me that some kids surrounded their son on a playground, cursing at him and making anti-Chinese remarks,” said Sun. “The little boy was frightened and traumatized, and the parents were devastated to see the impact on their child.”

“The Asian-American community is facing a backlash that’s similar to what Muslims faced after 9/11,” said Andrew Malekoff, executive director of the Guidance Center, the region’s leading children’s mental health organization. “Pandemic-fueled harassment and violence creates lasting trauma, especially for youngsters, and all of us are responsible to stand up against these horrific attacks.”

The webinar, which will air live but be recorded for later viewing, will cover the discrimination issues facing Asian-Americans and, most important, give people resources and information that they can use if they or their children are subject to harassment.

“It’s common in our culture for people to keep quiet about these matters, especially when they are new immigrants,” said Sun, “but if we don’t know specifics about the attacks, it’s much harder to help. There are people out there who can offer assistance, whether it be the mental health professionals at the Guidance Center or legal authorities.”

State Senator Anna Kaplan, who is the first political refugee and the first Iranian-American elected to the New York State Senate, will discuss anti-discrimination laws during the webinar.

“The crisis we find ourselves in has brought out the best and worst in people, and unfortunately we have seen a significant escalation of harassment and violence against the Asian-American community fueled by anti-Asian bias and xenophobia,” said Kaplan. “As Americans, we need to rise to this occasion, and face this challenge as a family, and there is no place in our American family for hatred and bias. I’m grateful for the efforts of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center and the Great Neck Chinese Association for holding this important event to empower our community with the tools we need to deal with this crisis, and I encourage everyone to participate and be part of the solution.”

Other participants will include Regina Barros-Rivera, Associate Executive Director of the Guidance Center; Christine Liu, the vice chair of the Nassau Asian American Advisory Council and a board member at the Chinese American Association of North Hempstead and Herricks Chinese Association; and ChenXin Xu, Board Member of the Great Neck Chinese Association and Founder, New York Music & Arts.

The free webinar is open to everyone. Questions will be taken during the event, or people can email questions prior to the webinar at president@gnca.org.

For more information about the Great Neck Chinese Association, visit www.gnca.org. To learn more about the services offered by the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org.

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