By Phyllis Campbell
JPMorgan Chase Chairman of the Pacific Northwest
As the world confronts the current pandemic, our society finds itself dealing with another alarming issue: COVID-19-related biases that are leading to attacks on the Asian community.
The global pandemic is tearing through diverse communities across the country, fueling hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islanders (API). Since the start of the pandemic, countless violent and verbal attacks have occurred. In our streets and neighborhoods, in many Asian-owned small businesses, and online, we are seeing physical assault, verbal harassment, and refusal of service.
Those of us in the Asian community have been unfairly targeted and blamed by many for COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in China. The spike in xenophobic attacks and discrimination against Asian Americans and references to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan Virus” or “China Virus,” have further racialized the pandemic. I am deeply saddened that even more vulnerable populations are being targeted—youth, elderly, and women are experiencing the brunt of the attacks. These events are impacting our families, friends, colleagues, and community. Real lives are impacted by these acts. As a financial institution invested in serving our communities, we have a role and responsibility in stopping these horrifying incidents. It’s our responsibility to do something about it, given the role of banks in the financial health of the communities we serve.
These racist acts are personal to me. My grandfather, and aunts and uncles were incarcerated during World War II, as Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. As Americans, they were hard-working citizens whose only “crime” was that they were of Japanese ancestry and therefore were suspected of conspiring with the enemy. We must take action to end anti-Asian and all racism by creating a culture focused on respect and inclusion.
This crisis has sparked an outpouring of corporate support for Asian Americans, and we’ve seen numerous examples of companies stepping up to make concrete changes to the way they do business to advance racial equity around the world. I’m proud of the fact that at JPMorgan Chase, we partner with a variety of local nonprofits supporting Seattle’s Asian community. As part of the firm’s COVID-19 response in Seattle, we recently contributed over $1.25 million to Craft3, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, and Seattle Chinatown International District PDA. Additionally, we provided relief to API small businesses that were deeply impacted by the pandemic, in part due to xenophobia.
As the largest bank in the United States, it’s time for JPMorgan Chase to own its part in creating economic opportunity and inclusion for API communities that have been historically marginalized. Racism is a tragic part of America’s history and anti-Asian racism dates back as far as the 1850s when the first wave of Asians immigrated to the United States. It’s a congenital defect of our society that we still confront. Systemic racism continues to negatively impact marginalized communities across virtually every walk of American life: wealth, homeownership, educational outcomes, health care, and life expectancy.
At JPMorgan Chase, we will continue to condemn hatred and discrimination in any way, shape, or form—and we share a common hope that civility, humanity, and empathy will prevail and make us a better society as a whole.