This past week has been traumatically terrorizing for many Asian American and Pacific Islanders across America as we learned of a 21-year-old white male’s killing spree in Atlanta, GA which left eight people dead—six of whom were Asian American women. While authorities are still navigating the legal terrains of motive, none can ignore that Asian American families and communities are both mourning great losses and experiencing heightened anxieties due to the rise in anti-Asian violence over the past year. According to recent reports, violence towards AAPI communities has risen 150 percent over the last year in connection to the international racialization of the COVID-19 pandemic, with racist rhetoric emerging from Donald J. Trump while occupying the highest office of the nation. Such behavior is abominable and unfortunately neither new, nor limited to his individual racist antics. It is historical, persistent and structural in the United States.
AAPI communities have been long sounding the alarms regarding America’s anti-Asian past and present, only to be ignored and forgotten by most Americans. And while we stand in shock witnessing the most recent accounts of anti-Asian violence, we can no longer be ignorant of our national history for doing so will fail our AAPI kindred at this moment and make us myopic in our vision for equitable justice in the future. Consequently, at this moment we are called to do more than “like” and “share” media posts with our social networks. We must educate ourselves on the depth of anti-Asian ideas, practices and policies in our past and present while also standing with and advocating for social and structural change that roots out racism of every form. Visit https://stopaapihate.org/ to begin hearing from AAPI voices while educating yourself and your community on current manifestations of anti-Asian violence. Then explore the Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit to educate yourself even further. Finally, begin advocating with and supporting AAPI lead initiatives and organizations.
Remember, the things we learn to tolerate today will be our standards for tomorrow. Stop and uproot racism now.