Durbin Discusses Rise in Discrimination and Supporting Minority-Owned Businesses with Chinese American Service League

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today discussed the rise in discrimination and hate targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals during the pandemic with representatives from the Chinese American Service League (CASL). Durbin also discussed his push to support minority-owned businesses – who are at greater risk of failing than white owned businesses – through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and CASL’s community-based efforts to provide meals for seniors and expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations. 

“This pandemic has been especially hard on Asian American communities, as we’ve seen an increase in harassment and discrimination against AAPI Americans. It is totally unacceptable,” Durbin said. “We need to combat these abhorrent instances of hate, including by making an extra effort to support Asian-American communities and minority-owned businesses in this crisis.  There is a lot of work to do, but I’m grateful to have friends and partners at CASL to help me get things done.” 

President Biden recently issued an executive action directing federal agencies to combat xenophobia against the AAPI community. Specifically, the President directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Attorney General, and other executive departments and agencies to support efforts (1) advancing cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity toward AAPI Americans and (2) preventing discrimination, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes targeting the community. 

The December COVID relief bill provided an additional $284 billion for PPP to provide first time and second draw loans.  The bill included dedicated set-asides to help ensure that PPP reaches the smallest businesses and businesses underserved by traditional financial institutions.  Since PPP reopened in January, more than 95,000 loans worth more than $6.7 billion have been approved in Illinois.  Last year, more than 225,000 loans worth $23 billion were approved in Illinois.