Statement on the recent rise of anti-Asian hate and violence

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Statement on the recent rise of anti-Asian hate and violence

A message of hurting, healing, and hope.

We grieve with our elders, our families, and our communities.

None of this is new. Act To Change launched as a public awareness campaign on bullying prevention, out of President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, when in some communities more than half of Asian American students reported being bullied, and in others the rate remained far underreported. Since 9/11 there has been a consistent increase in violence and hate towards Sikh, Muslim, and South Asian members of our community, and we saw a similar increase in xenophobic and racist hate that came alongside COVID-19, exacerbated by government leaders using racist terms. Stop AAPI Hate has documented nearly 3,000 hate incidents in the last year.

Just because it isn’t new doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. The videos and photos have been so incredibly hard to watch. We’re saddened by how long it took for mainstream news outlets to cover what was happening to our elders, and we’re angry that so many still don’t know what’s been happening. We want justice for our elders and for our communities, and we want to feel like we can belong and exist in this country.

Our vision is for a world where all youth have the opportunity to grow up feeling proud and supported in the development of their identity and sharing of their stories. Today, we are reminded that dreaming of a better world requires work, and it is in the spirit of hope and hard work that we want to remind our community: The bullying and violence against Asians is rooted in white supremacy culture.

The same systems that shaped the model minority myth also leverage that narrative to pit Asians as a wedge group against other communities of color. We are grateful for the many voices that have risen to support our community, and we call on everyone, especially those with a platform, to amplify efforts to build solidarity with Black, Indigenous and other communities of color to combat and dismantle systemic racism. We cannot be truly anti-racist without centering Black liberation.

Instead of allowing white supremacy to pit us against one another, Act To Change commits to supporting our community by:

  1. Spreading awareness to mobilize others to act in their home and in their communities by offering coordinated support, supporting local organizations working to fight racism within their communities, and amplifying diverse stories and perspectives.
  2. Educating our community and others about the rise in hate and bullying against the AAPI community, examining the systems that perpetuate violence and hate, and finding solutions that are culturally relevant, community centered, trauma informed.
  3. Building coalitions nationally and locally. We specifically believe it is important to listen and follow the lead of local community organizations and activists, and this became particularly pronounced after the violence in the Bay Area, New York City, and so many other places. We encourage everyone to follow the lead of local and grassroots leaders in communities they wish to support, such as the over 40 community organizations in the Bay Area who have banded together under the Oakland Chinatown Coalition.