COVID-19, race

Pandemic has sparked anti-Asian bias and violence. Here’s how you can report it.

NCAAT Executive Director Chavi Koneru (Photo: NC Asian Americans Together)

A man allegedly stabbed an Asian-American family at a Sam’s Club in Texas. In New York, people yelled anti-Asian insults at a woman and hit her on the head with an umbrella so hard she required stitches. And in Kansas, a patient with COVID-19 told their nurse, who is from Korea, “thank you for the coronavirus.

And in North Carolina, there have been racially motivated incidents against Asian-American students on UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State campuses, according to North Carolina Asian Americans Together.

Now NCAAT has launched an online portal to report anti-Asian discrimination and better track its prevalence:

NCAAT will not release or disclose any personal information without prior consent. All submissions will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested.

Anti-Asian discrimination and violence has become more common since the COVID-19 outbreak, because the virus originated in China. President Trump has stoked the hostilities by calling the new coronavirus “the Chinese virus.”

“We do not expect racist and xenophobic ideology and rhetoric to vanish once this pandemic ends,” NCAAT Executive Director Chavi Koneru said. “It is imperative that we acknowledge these incidents within the context of a larger system of US imperialism and white supremacy. The effects of COVID-19 will not be felt equitably in this country, we recognize that Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and other historically marginalized communities are already feeling disproportionate harm and trauma. There is more need than ever to work together to dismantle racist and harmful narratives for the betterment of all of our communities. ”


COVID-19, News, race

NC’s first elected Muslim woman overcame challenges, faces new ones with COVID-19

Nida Allam made history last month, becoming the first Muslim woman elected to public office in North Carolina. But the job — indeed, the world — will be very different from the one she imagined when she decided to run for a seat on the Durham County Board of Commissioners.

Nida Allam.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed life in North Carolina — closing public schools, emptying university campuses and shutting down most non-essential businesses. Durham is one of the hardest hit of the state’s 100 counties. With 63 confirmed infections as of Tuesday, it ranks behind only much-larger Mecklenburg County, which has reported 104.

Allam says she ran to be part of a new, more inclusive and progressive vision for Durham — one that includes voices and communities seldom represented in local government. That mission is now more important than ever, she said.

Allam has had plenty of time to think about the future, its unknowns and her role in all of it. She and her husband, Towqir Aziz, are now at the end of their own two-week quarantine.

“After the election we went to Spain to celebrate and kind of de-stress from the campaign,” Allam told Policy Watch last week. “But that’s completely not what it turned into.”

Instead, Allam and her husband found themselves engulfed in the international panic over COVID-19. As Europe struggled with an overwhelming number of infections and the United States belatedly began to put social distancing measures in place, they were just trying to get back home.

“Our flight was supposed to come back Sunday, but after [President Donald] Trump’s press conference they started cancelling all the flights,” Allam said. “We were scurrying to find a flight back. We finally got home but now we’re under a two week quarantine. We don’t have any symptoms — but just to be safe.”

Her doctor told her the office had only five available tests and had to save them for those with symptoms, she said. As of this week, Allam and her husband remain asymptomatic — but they are taking no chances.

They are saying their five prayers a day at home, she said, as are most observant Muslims with the local mosques suspending in-person gatherings for worship.

Allam said she is not even visiting her parents, who are her next-door neighbors.

“Right now we really have to check our own privilege,” Allam said. “We may be young, we may be healthy, but who could we pass this along to?”

These are not the questions and issues Allam expected to be tackling this month. Read more

public health, race

NC has one of the worst records in the nation for the deaths of black babies. An expert panel offers some solutions at next week’s Crucial Conversation.

Image: Adobe Stock

North Carolina has one of the worst records in the nation for the deaths of babies a year or younger, according to new reporting by Lynn Bonner of Raleigh’s News & Observer. The rate of Black babies’ deaths is driving that statistic.

Statewide, Bonner reports, the gap between Black and white infant deaths was wider in 2018 than it was in 1999. Black infants born in North Carolina are now more than twice as likely to die than white infants. The state has acknowledged it won’t meet its goals for reducing that gap by this year.

Join us for breakfast next Tuesday, February 11 at 8:00 a.m. for an in-depth conversation with Bonner about her seven-month reporting project. Bonner will be joined by an expert panel to discuss the extent of the crisis and how North Carolina can do better for its Black infants, including:

Whitney Tucker, who is the Research Director at NC Child. There, she leads the organization’s research on child wellbeing and provides actionable analyses of public policies impacting NC children and families. Tucker also engages in research for academic publication, with special interests in advocacy evaluation and policy tools advancing racial and ethnic equity.

Rebecca Cerese is the Engagement Coordinator for the N.C. Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project where she uses her experience as a documentary filmmaker and producer to find and capture compelling stories that highlight the many North Carolinians struggling to access quality, affordable health care, especially those who fall in the Medicaid Coverage Gap.

Tina Sherman, Campaign Director for the Breastfeeding and Paid Leave Campaigns at MomsRising, has dedicated her professional life to supporting and empowering moms and families. Among many other things, she has served as a legislative aide in the United States Senate and worked with several child and women’s advocacy organizations.

When: Tuesday, February 11 at 8:00 a.m.
Where: North Carolina Justice Center offices – 224 S. Dawson St., in Raleigh
Space is limited – preregistration is requested.
Cost: $10 for those who pay online, $15 at the door; scholarships available. Click here to register.
Note: Online sign-up page will list the “pay at the door” option as “free,” but the actual, event-day cost is $15

Questions?? Contact Melissa Boughton at 919- 861-1454 or [email protected]

Education, News, race, What's Race Got To Do With It?

E(race)ing Inequities | How race impacts everything from teacher experience, to student discipline, to access to gifted programs

With a new school year just around the corner, lawmakers, educators and parents should make time to read the thought-provoking new report “E(race)ing Inequities: The State of Racial Equity in North Carolina Public Schools” by the Center for Racial Equity in Education (CREED).

Policy Watch sat down last week to discuss the findings with James E. Ford, who is the executive director of CREED as well as a State Board of Education member and former NC Teacher of the Year.

In our extended interview, Ford explains why it’s time for another candid talk about race, and why North Carolina must adopt racial equity as a stated goal for our public school system.

If you don’t have time to read the full report. Here are seven takeaways from Ford and co-author Nicholas Triplett that merit further discussion:


  • Student groups of color had a higher likelihood of being taught by a novice [teacher] as compared to their White counterparts when controlling for gender, free/reduced lunch status, language status, and special education status.
  • Student groups of color were also far less likely to be in classes with a teacher of the same race/ethnicity.
  • Students of color were strongly over-represented within the districts/LEAs with the highest teacher turnover and vacancy rates.
  • Given the powerful influence that teachers have on virtually all measures of educational success, our results provide evidence that students of color in North Carolina have less access to the highly qualified, experienced, stable, and diverse teachers that are likely to provide them with the best chance of school success.
  • Not only are American Indian, Black, and Multiracial students over-represented generally in the incidence of both in-school and out-of-school suspensions, they appear to be the disproportionate recipients of suspensions involving subjective offenses and receive harsher forms of discipline (OSS vs. ISS) at higher rates. Furthermore, Black students receive longer suspensions on average than any other student group.
  • To give a sense of the magnitude of the racial discipline gap in the state, if Black students had been given out-of-school suspension (OSS) at the state average rate, almost 30,000 fewer Black students would have experienced OSS during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • The under-exposure of student groups of color in gifted and talented programs has the potential to diminish their long-term educational attainment, postsecondary participation, and professional achievements.

Learn more about the history of race and education in North Carolina in CREED‘s  “Deep Rooted” companion report.

ballot fraud, News, race, Voting

Elon Poll: In wake of Ninth District case, N.C. voters call election fraud a “major problem”

A new poll from Elon University finds more than half of N.C. voters surveyed consider election fraud a “major problem” in the state.

The poll was conducted this week in the wake of the dramatic hearings over alleged ballot fraud in the ninth congressional district,

“Now months out from the tainted 9th District election, North Carolina voters are broadly skeptical of elections in the state,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and associate professor of political science, in a statement on the results. “A majority of the electorate has clear concerns about the fairness of future elections and the extent of fraud.”

Read more