BASF Press Release

Racism and Xenophobia Are Deplorable and Undermine Collective Efforts to Fight the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 24, 2020, San Francisco—The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) condemn racism and xenophobia in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Since COVID-19 began to spread, there has been a surge in racist and xenophobic comments and behaviors targeted at people who identify or present as Asian American.

It is especially disheartening to witness elected officials, including President Trump, spread racist tropes and false and misleading information that fuel hateful speech and actions. This type of rhetoric and misinformation is not new, as public health emergencies like this one have frequently been racialized in the past.

The stakes are simply too high to allow racism and xenophobia to distract from what is most vital: Focusing our collective energies on getting through this pandemic and lifting up the most vulnerable among us.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. Through its board of directors, its committees, and its volunteer legal services programs and other community efforts, BASF has worked actively to promote and achieve equal justice for all and oppose discrimination in all its forms, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) advances fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession. JDC delivers free legal services through its Legal Services Programs division, which consists of the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Homeless Advocacy Project, and the Immigrant Legal Defense Program. JDC provides enrichment programs to diverse youth and young adults through its Diversity Educational Pipeline Programs. JDC’s programs serve approximately 9,500 disadvantaged San Franciscans a year, with the overarching goal of assisting the community’s most vulnerable members with accessing the judicial system and strengthening their personal, professional, and economic security.