We write today to express our solidarity and shared grief for the loss of eight people killed in a deadly shooting at three Atlanta-area massage parlors on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Six of the people killed were of Asian descent and women.
The violent event has deepened the fear of the historical racial and gender violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the U.S. We recognize that the loss of life creates a chain of shared community trauma that extends from the family members who lost essential members of their family unit this week, to the entire AAPI community.
We condemn structures of inequity that underline and sustain anti-Asian violence in this country – structural racism, white supremacy, xenophobia and misogyny.
In 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes increased 149% according to official preliminary police data by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. The Stop AAPI Hate National report documented about 3,795 incidents of hate crime against Asian Americans between March 19, 2020, to February 28, 2021, reporting that 68% of individuals experienced verbal harassment and 11% reported experiences of physical assault.
We recognize that violence against Asian Americans has a historical context raging from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, assaults by white mobs against Filipino farmworkers in the 1930s, and Japanese Intermittent Camps in the 1940s.
During this pandemic, xenophobic rhetoric racializing the Asian American community as an inherent “Chinese virus” has contributed to the consistent accounts of anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S.
The act of white supremacist and misogynist violence that took place this week must be contextualized in a narrative of systemic violence; not as an individual act. We must uplift the voices of the AAPI community and other communities of color who live under the terror of structural violence every single day either through racial profiling, acts of white supremacist terror, intimate partner violence, and police brutality.
We all are accountable in thinking about innovative and impactful ways to keep our communities safe, value our lives, and sustain our health in solidarity and love.
Delaina Ashley Yaun
Paul Andre Michels
Hyun Jung Grant
Soon C. Park
Yong A. Yue