The mass murder that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16 is another devastating act of anti-Asian and gender-based violence in the United States. To our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) neighbors, friends, teachers, students, family, co-workers, business owners and all other members our community, we mourn with you, stand beside you and share in your anger, grief and frustration.
History, empirical research and lived experiences teach us that our words matter. Leadership matters. Our silence, actions and inaction all have the potential to impact each other’s freedom, dignity and safety. To those in the media and elsewhere claiming that this tragic act of violence was not racially driven, we encourage you to learn of the deep, interconnected roots of anti-Asian and sexist oppression in the United States with examples dating from the Page Act of 1875 and before. We also encourage you to notice that regardless of what you believe was in the murderer’s heart, the result has been lives lost and intense racial terror. According to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism in 2020, despite a 7% overall decrease in hate crimes in 16 of the largest U.S. cities, there was a 150% increase in hate crimes targeting those in the AAPI community.
Those of us at the Institute for Social Healing are committed to supporting research, educational opportunities and connections that promote healing and the creation of a fairer, safer, more loving and just world. We believe that requires not only condemning acts of violence and oppression, but self-reflection, historical analysis and coordinated action as well. We have added a number of resources that provide historical context and support organizations and action steps to stop AAPI hate. We will continue our own work of learning and deep listening and we will lend our voices and resources to stand in solidarity with all those facing marginalization, violence and oppression. As we strongly condemn anti-AAPI racism and sexism, we also celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander joy, scholarship, culture, history, art and activism.
”“In a time of destruction, create something.”Maxine Hong Kingston