Friday, May 16, 2003

A Shining Example of Overcoming SARS Hysteria

For Immediate Release May 16, 2003
Contact Persons: Amy Chin (no. deleted)
S. B. Woo (no deleted)

The New York Chinese Cultural Center (NYCCC) and The 80-20
Initiative (80-20) jointly announced today that a potentially
dangerous precedent
against all persons of Chinese descent in the US
has been turned into a positive and inspiring precedent.

On May 4, five artists sent by NYCCC to a middle school in Vineland,
NJ were denied the opportunity to perform their contractual duties at
the school owing to fear over SARS. The five have not been to "SARS
affected areas" in the last two years, and the school knew about it in
advance. Should this hysteria over SARS have been allowed to stand
and spread, extreme harm could come to all persons of Chinese
descent in the USA. Fortunately, under the inspiring leadership of
Superintendent Clarence C. Hoover, III and Assistant Superintendent
Mary Adair of the Vineland School District, the bad incident has been
turned into an inspiring and positive precedent of how to overcome
the SARS hysteria.

Dr. Hoover said, "As the Superintendent of the Vineland Public
Schools, I am making a public apology to all of these performers ...
He also said that the unfortunate incident will be used by the School
District as "a teachable moment." He said, "Over the next several
weeks, we will be working with our schools to heighten public
awareness of SARS and .. to create a climate of understanding

The artists will be paid for the week as contracted. Their program will
be re-scheduled if not this semester, then the next semester.

Amy Chin, Executive Director of NYCCC, said, "I am happy to report to
our community that this incident has been resolved to our Center's
complete satisfaction. I want to acknowledge the enlightened
leadership of Dr. Hoover and others. I also want to thank The 80-20
Initiative for its support to the Center and the Chinese community
during this episode. In addition, the outpouring of letters and calls
from concerned individuals and organizations from folks across the
country has been very heartwarming for me and all the artists. This
incident has truly strengthened our community in untold ways."

S. B. Woo, President of 80-20 and former Lieutenant Governor of
Delaware said, "It was a pleasure working with leaders like Amy Chin
and Dr. Hoover. 80-20 is glad to see that the school incident in
Vineland has turned into a shining example for the nation in how to
deal with hysteria of SARS scare. I hope our community will keep the
reports on the satisfactory resolution of this incident on hand.
another incident of SARS hysteria occurs elsewhere in America, send
them the newspaper articles or this press release. Hopefully,
overreacting persons or organizations will quickly realize their
mistakes and make proper amends. However, 80-20 will continue to
be vigilant in protecting our community against SARS hysteria