Dear Voices Community –
On March 16, 2021, eight people were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. Human beings were gunned down, their lives taken. This was not an accident. While the investigation is ongoing and not all the identities of these victims have been disclosed, we know that six were Asian women. For many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, their worst fear has been realized.
The intersectionality of the events this week are plain: race, gender, immigration status, economic status. These are what weave the cloak of invisibility. Culture normalizes it. Therefore, we must call this moment what it truly is: white supremacy, anti-Asian racism, sexism, violence against Asian American women, and violence against immigrants. This moment is not the first and certainly won’t be the last… unless we act.
This summer, I wrote that we have a choice: we can either be racist or anti-racist. We can be truth stoppers or truth seekers. We can perpetuate racism and racist policies or promote equitable and anti-racist policies. There is no in between. We called on Connecticut policymakers to reflect on their records and determine whether their actions have been racist or anti-racist. Again, we have a choice.
Anti-Asian sentiment is deeply rooted in the history of the United States. Since the 1850s scapegoating of the first Asian immigrants to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (that lasted until 1943) to the making of the “model minority” myth, to the rise in violence from the COVID-19 pandemic today. Bias and violence are not new. What is new is the increased reporting of these incidents and the willingness of others to acknowledge these truths.
The silent pain the AAPI community has been feeling and living with, heightened during the pandemic, is only audible now for people to hear——largely due to our Black allies and their centuries of activism to be seen. However, this is all our fight. As a growing number of supporters are joining the chorus of voices to #StopAsianHate, the question is, “will you stand in solidarity with the AAPI community or will you allow them to remain invisible?”
This week’s events are a horrific reminder that the road to justice is long. Racial and ethnic equity requires all of us working together… and there is much work to be done. We still hope for a better world and recognize that this will take effort and time. We still stand ready to work with those willing to create a state and country that is anti-racist, where power is shared, and humanity and choice is afforded to everyone.