Two weeks ago, our hearts sank here at NCLR as we heard the news that the Atlanta community had been attacked by a terrorist who murdered eight individuals – including six Asian women. While we may not have all the details about the motives of the attacker, it is clear that he specifically targeted Asian-owned and operated businesses in a city with a less than 5% Asian population.
What is also clear is that anti-Asian violence has dramatically increased in the last year, incited in large part by elected officials at the highest levels of office, including former President Trump himself. In just a year, Stop AAPI Hate reports that there have been more than 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian violence and harassment, with women being more than twice as likely as men to be the victims of that violence.
And the wave of anti-Asian violence hasn’t been confined to specific geographic regions of the country. We have witnessed a disturbing increase in anti-Asian violence being perpetrated against the most vulnerable and elderly in communities all across the country, including San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.
As our Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon noted: “This is white supremacy and misogyny. This is the legacy of a President whose racist rhetoric blamed a country for a global pandemic. This is the racism that purports a ‘model minority’ while simultaneously ignoring how that contributes to both poverty and barriers to access.”
As a queer Asian immigrant, I have faced homophobic and racist harassment and violence both in public and in professional settings. At the same time I know being a cisgender man means I do not experience the racialized misogyny and transphobia that AAPI women and transgender and non-binary people face every day. I am brokenhearted for the Atlanta victims and all victims of racist violence, their loved ones, and their communities. I am furious that as a country we allowed such violence to happen.
We collectively must take responsibility, working together and doing more to end Asian hate once-and-for-all. As a broader community, we must be doing more to support and protect our AAPI communities – particularly women, transgender, and non-binary folks – in order to end this disturbing and growing spate of violence.
Now more than ever we need to come together to stand up for our Asian American neighbors – it will take ALL of us to Stop Asian Hate.