Our hearts go out to the families of the eight people, including six Asian women, who were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia, during Tuesday night’s terrorist attack. Our thoughts are also with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the country and locally who recently have been the repeated target of violence and racism.
All violence and oppression are connected. We condemn the anti-Asian hate crimes in Atlanta and closer to home in South Seattle and Renton.
Anti-Asian Violence and Hate
Anti-Asian violence and hate crimes not new to our community or our country, but attacks are on the rise. The number of anti-Asian hate crimes has increased 150% in the last year primarily because the previous administration persistently scapegoated Asians for the COVID-19 pandemic. AAPI women are at an even greater risk of experiencing hate-based violence, reporting hate incidents 2.3 times more often than men.
Racism and violence against AAPI communities are complex and varied. This in part because there are so many AAPI communities, each with their own complex histories around colonialism and immigration.
Violence Against AAPI Women
AAPI women, like the spa workers, face the additional burden of misogyny in the workplace and the home. They are often hypersexualized and stereotyped as an exotic, submissive, model minority. It’s not surprising that between 21% and 55% of AAPI women have experienced domestic violence.
Phi Nguyen with Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Atlanta noted that the murdered Asian women “were working highly vulnerable and low-wage jobs during an ongoing pandemic speaks directly to the compounding impacts of misogyny, structural violence, and white supremacy.”
It’s not a coincidence that the shooter targeted spas and massage parlors, places that employ low-wage, immigrant women in hypersexualized roles. While we do not yet know if any of the women killed were sex workers, the attacks are part of a long history of sexual violence and objectification by white men against Asian women.
Mental Health Resources for AAPI
We want to acknowledge the racial trauma that our AAPI survivors, staff, and community members may be experiencing in the wake of these hate crimes. The Mental Health Coalition put together resources that some may find helpful during this time.
Building a world free from violence includes working to end racism and misogyny. We ask you to show up for AAPI communities by taking these three actions:
1. Learn about anti-Asian racism in U.S. history and our community. Don’t know where to start? Here’s an overview.
2. Be an ally and disrupt hate when you see it. Take a bystander intervention training or engage with anti-hate organizations like Stop AAPI Hate.
3. Support and engage with AAPI businesses and organizations like ACRS, API-Chaya, and InterimCDA.