We know all too well how fear-mongering and anti-Black racism works hand-in-hand to place a wedge between community solidarity and further sustains white supremacy. The result has been the ongoing lack of protection and compassion for our families as we grapple with seemingly endless violence and injustice. Join us as we stand with Asian Pacific Islander women to condemn these egregious attacks calling on the justice system to swiftly prosecute the perpetrator of these crimes.
Standing in Solidarity, We Turn Our Outrage to Action
Our hearts are heavy and we are mortified. On March 16––a string of heinous, racially-motivated misogynistic attacks left six women of Asian descent dead. As Black women leaders, we stand in solidarity with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women in mourning this senseless loss of life and standing firmly against hate everywhere. We call on our political leaders to stand up and take meaningful action to confront the intersecting forms of oppression: race, gender, sexuality, and class that shapes our unique vulnerability to hate violence as women of color. We must be seen in our full humanity and serious measures of accountability must be implemented to prevent attacks like this in the future.
It is well documented that anti-Asian racism and hatred have escalated in recent years, stoked by many months of callous and calculated rhetoric to and about the AAPI community. In the past year alone, there have been more than 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate. More than 68% of the incidents were reported by women. Indeed, the violence towards people of Asian descent disproportionately harms women. These attacks are not only xenophobic but deeply gendered.
Importantly, anti-Asian hate in the era of COVID-19 has been exacerbated by increased race-baiting and blatantly false claims made against the Asian community since the beginning of this pandemic. The hateful and fiery invective was spewed forth by the former highest officeholder in America, while his prominent supporters echoed his sentiment and allowed his words to smolder unchecked, breeding new levels of hate within his base.
As Black women, we are unfortunately all too familiar with the harmful intersectional effects of over-sexualization, objectification and fetishization, racism, classism, and misogyny, and how they culminate in violence against us. We are now - and historically have been - disproportionately targeted by white domestic terrorism - terrorism that society often avoids, dismisses, or justifies to maintain a status quo wherein our race, class, and gender render our bodies and lives expendable. We know all too well how the combined force of fear-mongering and anti-Black racism divides communities and sustains white supremacy, and how the resulting lack of compassion leaves our families and communities un-championed and unprotected as we grapple with ongoing inequity, injustice, and violence.
Less than a year ago the Georgia State legislature passed the Hate Crime Bill after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020, allowing prosecutors to seek harsher punishment for those who commit hate-based violence. We call on the justice system to name this what it is - a hate crime - by invoking the bill and swiftly prosecuting the perpetrator.
Furthermore, those with power in our society must hold accountable anyone standing in the way of justice. There must be real consequences for racism, sexism, and xenophobia. We ask everyone - regardless of their position or station in life - to speak out publicly against hateful rhetoric, gender-based violence, and racism.
As we keep the families and friends of those lives lost this week in our hearts and prayers, we will continue to demand justice so crimes like this do not persist across our state. Our bodies and our communities are not pawns, and this is not a game. Together, we have the power to course correct and change history.