March 17, 2021
We are devastated by the horrendous events that occurred yesterday which ended in the death of eight people in Atlanta, including six Asian women. These senseless shootings add to the countless examples of how hate, whether in the form of racism, xenophobia, patriarchal violence, and sexism, produce unsafe environments for targeted communities. We are in solidarity with the families of the victims and Asian American colleagues and communities in the fight to stop racialized violence against people of Asian descent.
From the start of the pandemic, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have been under attack, in large part due to toxic public discourse implicating Asian people for the spread of COVID-19. This racist rhetoric has fueled interpersonal and institutional violence nationwide. Since 2020, there have been 3,800 reports of anti-Asian incidents across the U.S., a vast majority (68%) being attacks on Asian women. The truth is glaring – Asian people, disportionately Asian women, are risking their lives by simply trying to live in America during this time. Historical policies like the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment during World War II, post-9/11 legislation (like the Patriot Act and violent surveillance of several ethnic and religious groups, including South Asian communities), and most recently the exploitation of Asian immigrants through inflammatory rhetoric (ranging from recent bans and policies surrounding HB-1 visas) and raids by federal agencies against “human trafficking” – have contributed to a long-standing assault on Asian communities.
The increasing violence towards Asian women can be directly linked to patriarchal gender roles, sexism, and anti-sex worker and immigrant bias. This tragedy is a reflection for the intersections of racism and sexism that often target sex workers, migrants, women, femmes, and other vulnerable populations.
Now is a time to listen to and support organizations focused on transformative justice, healing and community care among impacted communities, including: