The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative—the foremost diverse coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations representing and serving more than 53 million people in the United States— condemn in the strongest terms the heinous murders of eight people, including six Asian American women and one Asian American man on March 16 in Atlanta. This attack against Asian American women is white supremacy and misogyny in action.
Too often, racist policies at home and abroad pigeonhole Asian women, immigrant women, and poor women into unprotected, low-wage jobs — including as massage workers in spas — where they are subject to racist and sexist abuse on a daily basis, whether from their customers, employers or police. Violence against Asian American women— regardless of their country of origin or citizenship status — is not new. Racist narratives have exotified, fetishized and hypersexualized Asian women. As Georgia state Rep. Bee Nguyen said, Asian women constantly experience brutality at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia”.
The core element of discrimination and bias, whether based on race, gender, nationality, or other characteristics, is the dehumanization and “othering” of people. This assumes all individuals within these categories are the same, and are all of less value than those making these judgments. Many times, multiple forms of “othering” converge to target the most vulnerable intersections of these identities. The dehumanization of these women was personified when the killer justified the murders as the result him just having a bad day.
These murders are the most recent large-scale manifestations of centuries of violence against communities of color. These murders represent a flashpoint in the ongoing violence against communities of color fueled by systemic racism; and is the same fuel that fed the past four years of vitriolic rhetoric from America’s most powerful leaders and inaction against white supremacy. In the face of the disturbing rise in Anti-Asian hate, this Collaborative consistently has stood by the Asian community (in 2017 and as recently as last month). We will continue to stand in solidarity with all those who are impacted by racist violence and attacks.
We advocate for community-based solutions that advance collective safety and ensure that all workers, including Asian women, are treated with dignity and respect without an over reliance on law enforcement response. We also call on the Biden administration to heed the recommendations from our previous statement, which help us all to better track and address acts of hate violence.
As members of the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative, we stand united against anti-Asian hate in all of its forms. And we believe that the best approach to end anti-Asian hate violence is to lift up and provide adequate resources to community organizations that serve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, especially those for and by AAPI women, and to support multiracial efforts that include Asian American and Pacific Islander leadership in directly addressing the problems caused by systemic racism and misogyny.
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The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative includes the following leading national racial equity anchor organizations (the Anchors): Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS. Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we work together to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to reach their full potential.