A Statement From JDI
On March 16, 2021, a white gunman in Atlanta Georgia went on a killing spree targeting members of the Asian community, killing six women and two men, and placing the blame on the victims themselves. Meanwhile too many are attempting to divorce this one person’s actions from the broader cultural and systemic context in which this horror occurred.
The lives of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Julie Park, Hyun–Jeong Park Grant, and two others whose names have not yet been shared matter.
We’ve been here before. And until white people radically transform themselves and commit to disrupting white supremacy culture, we will be back here again: Mourning the death – or deaths – of other Black, brown, Asian, indigenous or other persons of color, immigrants, and LGBQTIAA+ identified folx.
Let us be clear. Minimizing and outright dismissal of the racist, sexist, and xenophobic beliefs and values led to this violent attack.
These women were targeted and killed not only because they were Asian but because they worked at a place that is often assumed to be associated with or may have been connected to the sex trade industry. Everyone deserves to live, work, and thrive free of discrimination, hate and violence. When JDI advocates for safety as well as decriminalizing of survivors, we also acknowledge the vulberability of sex workers who have long been invisibilized and denigrated as “unrespectable” or disposable.
The painful reality is that since the pandemic, Asian American communities have suffered violence and racist attacks at higher rates than ever before. And unsurprisingly, it’s women and nonbinary people who are disproportionately harmed by this bigotry. In fact, Asian women have reported twice as many hate incidents over the past year. [“Stop AAPI Hate National Report”]
A lot has been written and shared regarding the history and current manifestations of Anti-Asian racism in the United States. Below are links to a few statements, including from one of JDI’s members the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence.
We invite you to read, share, engage in conversation with each other and with JDI, support community-based solutions, demand justice, and join us in solidarity with Asian communities now and into the future.
It is not lost on us that while news of the killings in Atlanta was unfolding, the U.S. House of Representatives was voting on two critical pieces of legislation that address gender-based violence. While we can take comfort that the entire Massachusetts Delegation joined the House in voting overwhelmingly to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and secure funding for services through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), these bills did not pass unanimously. There were those who objected to addressing the needs of culturally specific communities and creating alternatives to the limited and sometimes harmful criminal legal responses.
Channel your anger and sadness into confronting white supremacy head-on, building power and educating, engaging, and mobilizing our communities into action—so that we heed AAPI community members’ warnings and ensure that we don’t leave anyone else vulnerable to white supremacist violence.
Don’t wait. Be part of the solution. Take action now.
STATEMENTS (partial listing)
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Action Network (APIs CAN!)
Barnard Center for Research on Women (includes resources as well)
Red Canary (coalition of Chinese massage parlor workers)