Asian American front-line workers share powerful anti-racist messages amid COVID-19

In a video, doctors hold signs addressing hateful remarks.

May 08, 2020, 3:18 PM

Sixteen Asian American doctors working on the front lines of the coronavirus are addressing hate in a new viral video.

Dr. Audrey Cruz of Loma Linda, California, and Dr. Christina Chen of Rochester, Minnesota, helped recruit the physicians who appear in the Instagram video.

"The topic came up on the recent attack on the subway [and] people having their house vandalized in their community," Cruz, an internal medicine doctor, told "Good Morning America." "We were very moved by these reports and we wanted to use our voices."

Each person shown in the footage holds up a sign revealing problematic things that have been said to them, troubling stories in the media and their responses.

PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
Christina Chen

Cruz and Chen said they believe labeling the pandemic the "Chinese Virus" has fueled discrimination against the Asian American community. COVID-19 has killed more than 76,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands worldwide.

"The problem with that is it creates a sense that China is the only place to blame," said Chen, a Mayo Clinic internal medicine physician who specializes in geriatric. "Ultimately it creates a label. It creates a target to spark finger pointing and ultimately that turns into hate."

PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
Christina Chen

Chen said the goal of the video is to humanize front-line workers and change perspectives.

"We're hoping that this can spark fundamental changes that will occur behind the mentality of racial discrimination," she said. "It's really important that we listen to others, and learn from others."

PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
Christina Chen
PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
Christina Chen

Cruz, who shared the video with her 103,000 Instagram followers, said she's blown away by the positive response from Asian Americans. It has been viewed over 25,000 times.

PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
Christina Chen

"We wanted to get that idea out there that there's so much hate, but were still fighting," Cruz said. "Hate is [also] a virus and we don't need another virus."

"As healthcare professionals and physicians we take an oath to do no harm," Cruz added. "Our patients, we treat them for their medical conditions and we do what we can to save lives. As physicians, we don't stop. [Regardless of] what your race is, we'll treat you no matter what."

PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic.
Christina Chen
PHOTO: A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic in an Instagram video.
A group of 16 Asian-American doctors working on the front lines of coronavirus are addressing hate and racist remarks they've heard during the pandemic in an Instagram video.
Christina Chen

Chen said she hopes the video is a reminder that "heartfelt change within ourselves" can stop discrimination.

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