by Emerald Staff
In the wake of the horrific mass shooting that took the lives of eight people in the Atlanta area on Tuesday — including six women of Asian descent — local elected leaders and community organizations came together to denounce anti-Asian hatred, show solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, and call for solutions that did not de-center the needs of all communities of color. The shooting, the worst mass attack in the U.S. since 2019, has sent shock waves through the local AAPI community, and drawn renewed attention to a spike in anti-Asian hate and violence, especially against women, during the pandemic.
Those killed in the shootings at three spas in and around Atlanta are: Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Yue, 63; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, 33; and Paul Andre Michels, 54.
Below, you’ll find statements made in response to the shooting and a growing trend in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic, a list of organizations to support or seek information or assistance from, and upcoming marches, rallies, and events in the Seattle area.
Statements in Response
The group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Atlanta issued the following statement that has been circulating widely across the U.S.:
“We are heartbroken by these murders, which come at a time when Asian American communities are already grappling with the traumatic violence against Asian Americans nationwide, fueled by the United States’ long history of white supremacy, systemic racism, and gender-based violence. 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 … We are calling on our allies to stand with us in grief and solidarity against systemic racism and gender-based violence. Violence against Asian American communities is part of a larger system of violence and racism against all communities of color, including Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.”
You can read and sign AAAJ Atlanta’s collective statement with the Georgia NAACP calling for a community-centered response here.
The Seattle-based group API Chaya issued this statement:
“API Chaya condemns in the highest possible terms the white supremacist shootings at massage parlors that killed eight people in Georgia. Six of the victims were Asian women. We feel deep sadness and rage with our communities. We urge all of you to center on the dignity and agency of massage parlor workers. Many immigrants and migrant Asian women work at the intersections of care services and the sex industry. Both forms of labor are devalued and stigmatized in our societies. API Chaya honors their work. We are in solidarity with all massage parlor workers and sex workers, including those who are undocumented and working class. We organize to build a world where their needs are met, rights are upheld, and where they have accessible and safe options for their livelihoods.”
You can read API Chaya’s full statement here. The group operates a 24-hour helpline at 1-877-922-4292 or 206-325-0325.
Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), which is based in South Seattle, issued this statement:
“This tragedy has been one of the deadliest amid an already traumatic time for Asian American communities, which have been facing an increase in racist violence over the past year… While the rise of anti-Asian violence is certainly in part due to an intentional and racist scapegoating of our community by the last administration, it is not inconsistent with this country’s long and storied legacy of racism. We must acknowledge this most recent event was perpetrated against Asian women working low-wage jobs at massage parlors. Recent data from Stop AAPI Hate shows Asian women are the majority of victims of anti-Asian violence … This is a sobering and important reminder that anti-Asian violence, like all structural violence, often occurs at the intersections of misogyny, racism, classism, and U.S. imperialism. To look at interpersonal violence as separate from these compounding systems of oppression is a disservice to the people impacted who hold multiple identities. Thus, to honor the women killed in Georgia and the thousands of victims and survivors of anti-Asian violence, we must address the root causes that harm our communities every day.”
You can view the full ACRS statement here.
InterIm CDA, one of the oldest advocacy organizations in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District, said in a statement:
“As attacks on the API community increase, we need to highlight the depth of white supremacy and racism that humanized the shooter as ‘having a bad day’ while framing the massage parlors as ‘temptation’ to ‘eliminate.’ This sexualization of Asian women is even more abhorrent in the light of the recent Stop AAPI Hate report that more than twice as many women are victims than men. We stand against misogyny and the stigma of earning a living in massage parlors. We respect all forms of work that our community engages in. ”
The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Greater Seattle Chapter, said in their statement:
“While we recognize the need for public safety, it should not come at the expense of over-policing communities – that is not the answer. As AAPIs, we understand first-hand how the overcriminalization of the justice system disproportionately impacts communities of color. We must seek alternative solutions in ensuring safety, building trust between communities, and fully resource ourselves to address the systemic issues perpetuating the cycle of violence. Such recommendations require nuance, long-term commitments, and looking at the issue with a holistic lens. We are ready to be a part of that conversation.”
Read the full statement here.
The Seattle Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) wrote in response to the rising trend of anti-Asian attacks:
“Racism is the root cause of the recent surge in anti-Asian violence. We know that racism affects all People of Color and that to stop the rising tide of anti-Asian attacks, we must address the unending cycle of blame born of racism … We must break this cycle of racism, blame, and hate through unity and solidarity. Racism thrives when oppressed communities are pitted against one another. Therefore, we reject any narrative that blames other people of color for anti-Asian racism. We reject arguments that use attacks on people of Asian ancestry to justify increased policing, state surveillance, and other actions that serve to further oppress communities of color. Instead, we embrace mutual aid and support for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other marginalized communities. We embrace anti-racist solidarity because allyship and solidarity provide the most effective tools to dismantle all forms of racism and racial hatred.”
View JACL’s full statement here.
The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Awareness Group from the Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington also shared their response:
“While it is clear that a majority of the recent attacks against the AAPI community have been racially motivated, these incidents have also highlighted the deep complexities of intersectional hate and oppression that have perpetually marginalized and targeted the women, gender nonconforming, LGBTQ, and immigrants of our community. As a group that consists of predominantly cisgender heterosexual men who have been privileged and benefit from a patriarchal society, we acknowledge our failures in supporting the work and needs of femmes in our community who have been the targets of some of the most vicious attacks. They have been the driving force of our work towards liberation and should be heralded as the cornerstones and glue of our community. We are committed to doing better.
Within these prison walls we will be initiating discussions among our peers on how we can improve the ways we show up for our community and will be having constructive dialogue that allows for true partnerships and equitable changes for all. That begins by challenging toxic masculinity, initiating tough meaningful conversations, and learning from those most impacted by asking questions and listening intently.
Our hearts are broken. And while we continue to grieve, we stand united–side by side with our community. These ignorant acts of violence against our people will no longer be tolerated and ignored. And those who continue to perpetrate these acts and spew hateful rhetoric will be held accountable.”
Organizations and Resources
“Women experience misogyny every day, but being Asian adds an additional layer of dehumanization,” writes Christine Liwag Dixon in a powerful essay, “I’m An Asian American Woman. The Sexualized Racism I Face Is Terrifying,” online at Huffington Post.
Bethany Wong, in an article published last year at Huffington Post, offers self-care advice for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders dealing with the stress of increased pressures of racism and the pandemic.
Mỹ Tâm H. Nguyễn, who lives in Seattle, wrote a powerful response to this week’s events, “Asian American Women Are Resilient — and We Are Not OK,” that includes concrete steps to taking action, tips on building community, and a great list of resources and suggested reading.
On Friday, March 19, Rainier Avenue Radio hosted a segment, “Violence and discrimination against Asian Americans,” hosted by Tony B., which featured an interview with Toshiko Grace Hasegawa, executive director, Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. You can watch an archived video of the interview on YouTube.
If you’ve experienced or witnessed a hate crime, Chinese Information and Services Center (CISC) in Seattle has set up hotlines and an email address to report incidents:
Cantonese-粵語/English: (425) 240-5825
Mandarin-普通话/English: (206) 393-2110
Russian/English: (425) 326-9497
Spanish-Español/English: (425) 598-5436
Vietnamese/English: (206) 235-4372
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, contact Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS) at (206) 695-7600.
Marches, Vigils, and Local events
Massage Parlor Outreach Project has called for a vigil to honor the lives of the massage workers and clients who were murdered in Atlanta on Monday, March 22 at 9:30 a.m. at Hing Hay Park.
Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif, has called for a national day of solidarity against AAPI hate on March 26.
Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) is holding space in an online rapid response community gathering, “Resilient Spirit,” for Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander families via Zoom on Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m. The meeting will offer an opportunity to gather, to collectively grieve, process, and affirm a commitment to undoing racism for BIPOC liberation. Sign up for the call here.
The Seattle Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) is hosting its Virtual Gala Saturday, March 20 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 ($15 for students/retirees) and include annual membership in APALA. Learn more info in this article at The Stand.
Ten-year-old Seneca Nguyễn of West Seattle, a student at Louisa Boren STEM K-8, has organized the Kids vs. Racism event at Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown/International District from Noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 20. Seneca urges people to bring art, signs, and KIDS in support of ending hate and racism against Asian Americans. And if you can, stay to support Asian businesses with a socially distant take-out picnic.
Naomi Ishisaka, columnist for the Seattle Times, noted in a Facebook post: “Given this week’s events, just wanted to remind folks you can still see “Hear Us Rise“, which documents the activism of Asian American women in the Seattle area through April 18 at the Wing Luke Museum…This exhibit highlights Asian Pacific American women and other marginalized genders that have challenged society’s expectations defied its restrictions and fought for equality and opportunity since their arrival in the United States. You’ll hear personal stories from powerful women that have participated in and drawn inspiration from movements like Civil Rights and Black Power to APA and LGBTQ movements.”
The Asian American Resource Center of Atlanta has started a GoFundMe for the shooting victims’ families. The site says 100% of all donations will go directly towards the victims’ families for funeral and arrangement costs.
You can support Georgia’s Asian American community by donating here to Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta.
Find out more about the Georgia chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and donate here.
In response to the rise in Anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment Hollaback! Is partnering Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC to adapt their free bystander intervention training as well as offering a de-escalation training to meet this moment. You can financially support this project here.
All of the organizations in the resources section above can also use your financial support.
Editor’s Note: We welcome additions to this list of community organizations and resources. Please contact us at email@example.com with suggestions.
Featured image courtesy Kids vs. Racism event organizers.
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