We are all devastated to learn of the murders of 8 people in Atlanta, 6 of whom were Asian American women. It has been heartbreaking for me to hear from our Asian American team members, who are fearful to leave their homes, fearful for their parents and are faced with comforting their children in a world that feels unsafe.
Even before the shooting this week, many leaders and organizations have been raising the alarm on the rise in verbal and physical assaults against our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) neighbors and communities. Stop AAPI Hate reported 2,800 hate incidents targeting AAPI people in 2020. An analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, this month examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent. Asian Americans Advancing Justice reported more than 3,000 incidents since April of last year. But beyond the overall figure, the reality that verbal and physical assaults against Asians have been disproportionately directed at women and seniors shows how violence often finds its way to the most vulnerable.
Hateful words turn into hateful actions. The frequency with which we saw mentions of a “China-Virus” showcased the very real prejudice, blame and hate towards our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors and communities that have existed in different forms throughout history. And so while the escalation of violence in recent weeks is rooted in past actions and historical views of Asians, it is still startling and heartbreaking to see.
Like other acts of racial violence, the fear and anger is real and increasing within our AAPI communities. Incidents such as Tuesday provoke anxiety and triggers from past experiences of hate and prejudice. We must unite as a community and a country to stand up against hate.
We must all do more to focus on supporting our friends, neighbors, and colleagues in AAPI communities. Stand with us as we stand behind the organizations and advocates that are leading efforts to end violent acts against peoples from the AAPI communities including:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice (@aaaj_la)⠀
Stop AAPI Hate (@stopaapihate)⠀
AAPI Women Lead (@aapiwomenlead)
United Way stands in solidarity with the Asian American community and we must all do everything in our power to fight hate and racism in all of its forms.