We are outraged at the murders that took place on March 16th – the act of white terrorism that took the lives of 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) women. The lives of these 8 people were precious. Their families were precious. Their pasts and their futures were precious.
We remember their names:
Soon Chung Park, 74
Hyun Jung Grant, 51
Suncha Kim, 69
Yong Yue, 63
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
Paul Andre Michels, 54
Xiaojie Tan, 49
Daoyou Feng, 44
As people who stand in solidarity with the AAPI community and who want to co-create a lasting movement towards justice, we are called upon in this moment to understand the roots of this massacre. Roots as old as this country, and roots that underlie the oppression of all of us in BIPOC and historically marginalized communities. The Trump administration should be held accountable for spreading disgustingly racist narratives that used Asian people as a scapegoat for the rise of COVID-19. But we know that the roots of March 16th extend much, much deeper. This event is rooted in violence and wars against Asian countries, in racism and discrimination against Asian peoples and immigrants in our cities, and in violence that compounds against Asian women, immigrant women, and low-income Asian women.
This country has always inflicted violence on Asian peoples. Violence can take the form of one gunman, but it can also take the form of repeated, criminal U.S. military interventions in China and Japan. It can take the form of wars in Vietnam and Korea that we don’t even learn about in school, for there’s no way to explain that level of senseless bloodshed to our children without exposing the criminal nature of the U.S. government. Violence can take the form of exploitative trade deals that drain life-sustaining resources from Asian countries. It can take the form of racist immigration laws that explicitly banned Chinese people from entering this country for a whole decade. It can take the form of the colonization of Hawaii and Guam.
These many, life-sucking forms of violence have been normalized for far too long, allowed to masquerade under dangerously innocuous names like “foreign policy,” and “national security.” To those of us who have also been victims of US racist imperialism - in Iraq, in Sudan, in Mexico and Guatemala - it should come as no surprise that many in power refuse to call what happened on March 16th a hate crime. None of the above-mentioned crimes against Asian and AAPI people have ever been denounced as such in any hall of power. Instead, the lives lost and damaged as a result of them are simply framed as casualties in inevitable political processes. White supremacy is viciously skilled at gaslighting.
If there’s something that we know as a refugee and immigrant women-centered community – in which most of our members occupy positions as food service workers, childcare and homecare providers – it’s that violence is intersectional. Racial and gender-based violence compound to create a higher level of precarity for women in all marginalized communities, especially those who work in low-wage, devalued, and/or fetishized professions. The words of Dr. Connie Wun help us to maintain a focus on the specificity of the March 16th killings:
“This has everything to do with the policing, criminalization, disdain, and disregard for the lives of Asian sex workers, especially massage parlor workers – many of whom are immigrants, undocumented, providers for their families here and abroad.” Connie Wun, PhD.
We stand in solidarity with our AAPI sisters. We grieve the lives lost in this horrific massacre. We are committed to fighting and dreaming towards a future in which the preciousness of life – Black life, Indigenous life, AAPI life – is always valued above profit, power, or ideology.
Below are some powerful, AAPI-led groups and organizations to support
(resource List from Connecticut Students for a Dream, a dope youth-led network fighting for the rights of undocumented youth and their families and a model in coalition-building):
Stop AAPI Hate - https://stopaapihate.org/
AAPI Women Lead - https://www.imreadymovement.org/
Dear Asian Youth - https://www.dearasianyouth.org/
Hate is A Virus - https://hateisavirus.org/
Advancing Justice - https://www.advancingjustice-aajc.org/
Asian American Federation - https://www.aafederation.org/
CACF (coalition for Asian American Children+Families) - https://www.cacf.org/
Red Canary Song - https://www.redcanarysong.net/
Providence Youth Student Movement - https://www.prysm.us/
Southeast Asian Freedom Network - https://www.facebook.com/SEAfreedomnetwork/
Freedom, Inc. https://freedom-inc.org/
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance https://www.nqapia.org/