May 11-15 marks Hmong Week in Portage County, a week featuring cross-cultural community engagement, learning and celebration. During a time designated to recognize the many ways our Hmong neighbors strengthen and enrich our communities, it is especially troubling to hear that pandemic-related cases of xenophobia, discrimination and racism against Asians and Asian Americans are occurring.

At CAP Services Inc., we are driven by our mission to transform people and communities to advance social and economic justice. Our vision is that all individuals and families have the capacity to achieve their goals and thrive in resilient, equitable communities. As such, we strongly and unequivocally condemn all forms of racism and ethnocentrism, including recent attempts to blame Asians or Asian Americans for the coronavirus pandemic.

We call on local leaders, policymakers and the public to halt and denounce the escalating rhetoric and violence aimed at Asians and Asian Americans. It is vitally important that we work together to ensure the health and safety of our community, and that begins by standing with our neighbors of Asian descent and treating them with dignity and respect.