The students worked pro bono with staff from four community partners, including the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the Asian and Pacific Islanders of Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association, to assist in drafting, the resolution, which addresses an increase in discrimination and harassment against Asian and Pacific Islanders that has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Latinx and African American communities.
The resolution was passed by the Nashville Metropolitan Council on July 7; 13 council members served as its sponsors. The students also produced a library resource guide with the help of Vanderbilt Law Librarian Sarah Dunaway. The guide, COVID-19 and Racism: Legislative Responses, charts legislative responses to COVID. “We learned a lot about local government and the process for passing a resolution,” said Ko.”It was a very rewardng experience.”
“While this resolution is largely symbolic, it serves an important purpose in calling attention to an increase in harassment and discrimination against immigrants from Asian and Pacific Islands during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karla McKanders, clinical professor of law, who directs the Immigration Practice Clinic and teaches classes in immigrant and refugee law.