Our Response to COVID-19

New Breath Foundation

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Happy New Breath, all my relations.

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe during this life-changing time with COVID-19 and shelter-in-place.

As reality sinks in forcing us to adjust to a new way of living, I reflect on the 11 months I spent in San Quentin’s solitary confinement. The sense of hopelessness was a daily reality surrounding me with concrete and steel. Several things kept me sane and hopeful, and I still utilize these practices during tough times: staying connected with my family and community, exercising, reading and writing, reflecting on my privileges, supporting and advocating for my neighbors, and creating a productive routine.

I’ve taken this opportunity to spend meaningful time with my family by going on daily walks with my daughter, helping with her schoolwork, and practicing cooking vegetarian dishes. I’ve also made sure to establish a routine to stay focused on the goals I’ve set for New Breath Foundation.

At New Breath Foundation, we’ve adjusted some of our priorities and responded to issues our community has been facing. However, we won’t let the pandemic stop us from serving our community with the limited amount of resources we have.

Hope & Healing

COVID-19 has increased racial violence and hatred towards Asians and Asian Americans, surfacing the underlying tensions among different ethnic groups. We condemn and challenge the oppressive systems that murdered Native Americans, enslaved African Americans, exploited immigrants and refugees, and pitted these groups against each other. These systems enacted deplorable events such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese concentration camps. When we lose sight of the historically shared struggles within our community, we allow history to repeat itself.

Before the pandemic, we responded to recent violence against the elderly Asian American population by working with several San Francisco Asian American community-based organizations creating cross-cultural healing strategies.

Movement Building

As racial tensions heightened amid COVID-19, we co-drafted a letter with AAPI Women Lead and Revolve Impact calling for Global Racial Solidarity. Over 100 international and national organizations, as well as community leaders, have signed the Global Racial Solidarity Letter to stand up for all people. You can join NFL player Taylor Rapp and Olympian Katelyn Ohashi in supporting the movement. More information on the Athletes for Impact website here.

Keeping Families Together

We remain engaged with the Southeast Asian communities, who remain at risk of deportation. We recently helped financially support ReleaseMN8’s informational immigration workshop and legal clinic that educated Hmong, Laotian, and other vulnerable communities about their rights.

We also continue to support the #Right2Reunite campaign led by the Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC). APSC just launched another campaign to bring back four Californian deportees, many of whom we met during the Cambodia Listening Tour we organized last November. You can also participate and show your support.

The times of drastic change are times of passions.
– Bruce Lee


As we embrace the uncertainties of our current crisis, it’s time to be fearless and passionate about humanizing each other. It’s when we’re able to share the passion for healing and recognize each other’s humanity that we will become victorious.

Thank you for believing in New Breath Foundation and me. Let’s be healthy and thrive together.


Eddy Zheng
President & Founder, New Breath Foundation