DHS News

​Standing in Solidarity with Asian Communities​

Director's Message
Message from ​Director Fariborz Pakseresht

Liesl Wendt, Deputy Director
Dion Jordan, Director, Office of Equity and Multicultural Services (OEMS)
Eric Moore, Executive Sponsor, ODHS APINet (Asian and Pacific Islander Network)​​

February 18, 2021

Lunar New Year, an important annual celebration in Chinese culture and Asian countries, is happening now. The celebration marks the end of winter and welcomes the spring season. Nearly one year since the COVID-19 reached Oregon, we want to reflect on the pandemic's impact on Asian Americans and greet the new season with our growing commitment and actions to be an organization where all are safe, included and valued. ​

We are deeply saddened and angered by the unrelenting pandemic-linked racism and violence against Asian Americans, including those in Oregon communities. More recently, many new incidents targeted elders during the Lunar New Year.

We stand in collective solidarity with our Asian and Asian American communities and many colleagues who are personally and deeply impacted. The Oregon Department of Human Services' (ODHS) commitment to anti-racism and equity includes all groups who have experienced personal and systemic racism, oppression and discrimination.

It is important to note that the racism faced by those on public transit, in gas stations, and the Jade District in Portland, not to mention the more than 2,500 incidents that have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, and 68 reports sent to the Oregon Department of Justice are rooted in a long history of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in Oregon and the nation. We join our community partners and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like Asian and Pacific Islander Network (APINet) to address structural racism across all our institutions and systems.

As an agency committed to anti-racism, we also recognize the power of language to normalize prejudice and violence. While some have used their platform and privilege to vilify Asian Americans during this pandemic, our partners at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) remind us: “We create safer communities by addressing words, jokes, slights, and comments that underlie these more violent actions. It is incumbent on all of us to do this."  

Concerted efforts, vigilance and allyship are required to combat hate and violence. We encourage those of you who witness discrimination to interrupt. Incidents can be reported to your manager, human resources, Portland United Against Hate at www.reporthatepdx.com, the Oregon Department of Justice's Bias Response Hotline at 1-844-924-BIAS, 711 for Oregon Relay, or at StandAgainstHate.Oregon.gov.

All anti-racist movements become stronger when cross-community alliances are built. That's why ODHS and ODHS leadership recommit ourselves as partners to organizations and coalitions that are responding to these injustices.

We are here, with you in unity, ready to create change.



Get training on how to help:

Understand the history:

Understand what is happening today:

Use your own platforms to speak out:

Understand racial trauma and provide culturally appropriate mental health supports:

If you witness or experience hate, rep​​ort it:
  • Community members who have been impacted by a bias-driven incident can refer to APANO and Portland United Against Hate's (PUAH) “Resilience to Hate Resource Guide." 
  • Incidents can be reported to PUAH at www.reporthatepdx.com, the Oregon Department of Justice's Bias Response Hotline at 1-844-924-BIAS, 711 for Oregon Relay, or at StandAgainstHate.Oregon.gov. The “Resilience to Hate Resource Guide" also has references for mental health and victim support resources. 

Support community organizations in the fight for justice: