In the wake of the March 16 attacks that killed eight in Atlanta, GA, MassEquality stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and condemns the rising tide of white supremacist hate and violence targeting them. The senseless, racist attacks terrorizing this community are sickening and inexcusable. MassEquality both recognizes and condemns the systemic anti-AAPI bias that has catalyzed the alarming escalation of such horrifying incidents. We refuse to disrespect the victims and their survivors by ignoring the intersectional context of increasing anti-AAPI hate and misogyny in which these murders took place.
We mourn for the lives of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. And we grieve for and with a community reeling in the wake of these losses – a community that has suffered from both a surge in violent hate crimes in the past year and a dangerous refusal to acknowledge the prejudice behind these crimes.
As more details emerge about the specifics of the attack on Tuesday, we refuse to remain silent about the context in which this incident occurred: a context in which anti-AAPI hate has been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. Our state alone reported 67 incidents of AAPI discrimination between March and December 2020. Such incidents have especially targeted those who exist at the intersection of multiple oppressions, with the elderly, AAPI women, and community members who work in stigmatized or vulnerable industries impacted by the forces of racism and violently fetishizing misogyny. The victims of this Tuesday’s murders worked at spas, businesses often targeted by this kind of racialized, sexualized violence due to assumptions that they employ sex workers. We refuse to gaslight those who understand the lived reality of dealing with the violence that occurs at such intersections of oppression by ignoring this wider environment of hate and fear. Targeting a business because its employees are stigmatized as racially-fetishized, sexualized objects should be recognized for what it is: an act of hate.
At this time, the LGBTQ community must stand together with the AAPI community and support its own vulnerable members. We encourage others to join us in listening to the voices of those most impacted by anti-AAPI violence, starting with reading the Asian American Commission of Massachusetts’s recent community action guide for responding to racist incidents and attending the Massachusetts Town Hall on Anti-Asian Racism next Thursday, and supporting AAPI community organizations, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, the Boston-based Asian Pride, QAPA (the Queer API Alliance of New England), and NQAPIA (the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance). The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center offers a list of further actions you can take, which range from donating to sharing safety tips, while Hollaback is offering a special training on bystander intervention to stop Anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment this coming Monday (March 29). We ourselves pledge to redouble our efforts to oppose anti-AAPI racism and sexism in all its forms.