We are mourning for those murdered so violently in the Atlanta area on Tuesday. We mourn for them, and we mourn with their families and loved ones. And we also grieve for our Asian American community, which has been traumatized by high levels of racist attacks over the past year. Our community is suffering from fear and pain on top of the grief and loss of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Stop AAPI Hate initiative, which CAA co-founded with partners, has documented and is working furiously to respond to the disturbing pattern of attacks against our community. From March 2020 through February 2021, we have received nearly 3,800 reports of hate incidents across the country.
Asian women, in particular, face the brunt of this hate, reporting hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. In their reports, women often describe being sexually harassed; racist rhetoric and beliefs about COVID-19 are being weaponized as part of the sexual harassment.
We cannot overlook the fact that six of the people murdered on Tuesday were Asian American women, and that misogyny and sexualized violence is very much part of the experience of Asian American women. These attacks bring up pain for Asian American women across the country, and call upon us to do more against the intersection of racism and misogyny, which has a long history in this country. The first restrictive federal immigration law was the 1875 Page Act, which prohibited Asian women from entering the U.S. under the racist pretext of immorality.
On Thursday, Stop AAPI Hate’s Manju Kulkarni testified at the House Judiciary Committee, joining others in calling for more to be done about the epidemic of discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.
As we continue to expand our work to advance community safety and justice, at this moment many of our community members and partners in the Atlanta area need support.
Our colleagues at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta write, “As we collectively grieve and respond to this tragedy, we must lead with the needs of those most directly impacted at the center: the victims and their families. And during this time of broader crisis and trauma in our Asian American communities, we must be guided by a compass of community care that prioritizes assessing and addressing our communities’ immediate needs, including in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services.”
For friends and allies in San Francisco, the Coalition for Community Safety and Justice, of which CAA is a part, is hosting a vigil in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square this Saturday, March 20 at 12PM Pacific. Please join us in grieving and healing from this week’s violence.
In grief and solidarity,
Cynthia Choi and Vincent Pan