Only Solidarity Can Save Us: Xenophobia and COVID-19 (Online Course)

As the world responds to the uneven impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a second threat follows in its wake: a xenophobic reaction that stigmatizes migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and foreigners as the cause of the outbreak.  Such responses to the crisis are not only deceptive and vicious but also a threat to public health.  Decades of research proves that islamophobia, sinophobia, and anti-immigrant rhetoric causes illness and premature death.  In general, exposure to discrimination can be traumatizing, causing long-lasting mental and health effects.  In contexts of global health crises, falsely blaming groups who are already health compromised and often under-resourced to prevent contagion, threatens public health by driving the virus underground and making it more difficult to maintain.

This class separates fact from fiction with a focus on the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has been politicized by xenophobic leaders to advance political gains. As health workers fight for appropriate supplies and protections, nationalist leaders across Europe and the United States are attempting to escalate repressive border policies. Meanwhile asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants around the world—who have had nothing to do with the spread of COVID-19—face increased discrimination and attacks.  Blaming vulnerable groups creates compound health risks and putting unnecessary pressure on our over-stretched health resources.  To prevent spread, the international community must band together to provide appropriate care and human rights for all patients.

Upon completion of this class, participants will be able to:

  1. Evaluate how the negative effects of the current pandemic can be deepened by patterns of racial and gendered health disparities caused by structural violence   
  2. Outline the compounding health risks to people of color that are created by racist and xenophobic reactions to the crisis.

Course Information:

This will be a hybrid style course with 1-hour online via Zoom followed by a 1-hour home study that can be completed on the same day for a total of 2 hours of continuing education credits. After registering at the link below, you will receive an invitation to the Zoom class via email. It is important that you respond to the invitation and register for the Zoom class prior to the day of the class. If you have any questions, please contact Valerie Gonzalez at


Online, 4 - 5 pm PT
August 7, 2020