If you are not aware, a white man in Atlanta shot and killed eight people yesterday, including six Asian women. The shooter is in custody.
This violence comes as violence against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) is on the rise. As President Biden noted in his address to the nation last week, “Asian Americans…have been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated. At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, they’re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives, and still, still, they are forced to live in fear for their lives, just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
The Atlanta shootings and their aftermath so far—including thoughtless comments from the police—have touched our often painful inability to understand the ways that white supremacy and misogyny are intertwined (as we have discussed on Sundays at times, we need to remember that white supremacist heteropatriarchy is one thing).
If you are unaware of the ways that Asian women are fetishized, I encourage you to learn more. One place to start is this article from January 2021 from the Women’s Media Center.
Hugs and love to all of us in the wake of this violence, especially our Asian American congregants.
What follows is a statement from the Steering Committee of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of DRUUMM, March 2021:
We denounce the current surge in anti-Asian violence and stand in solidarity with all Asian Americans and immigrants of Asian origin who have been affected. Additionally, we know that many of our APIC members and Asian and Pacific Islander Americans across the country have likely experienced some kind of anti-Asian racism in their lifetimes, from outright attacks to insidious ongoing microaggressions. Recent incidents of violence are merely reminders of the pain we have felt before. None of this is acceptable.
We believe that at the heart of this violence lies systemic racism and other forms of injustice that builds power by domination. We link this current anti-Asian violence with all racialized violence in the U.S. To us they have the same source — white supremacy culture. Ending anti-Asian violence is tied to ending all racialized violence, dismantling white supremacy culture, and choosing solidarity not division among our communities. Most importantly, we believe we can work to increase safety through expanded community leadership, without relying on more policing or punishment through incarceration.
We know that you have likely already read other statements denouncing this violence so we ask you to consider your own ways to take action:
- If you are a victim of anti-AAPI hate, go to stopaapihate.org to report the incident so that there is better data to understand the extent of the problem.
- Read or get training on what to do if you experience or witness harassment or hate. Reach out to organizations that serve Asian communities to provide direct support in this time of increased vulnerability.
- Let your congregation’s worship leaders know you want to share a reflection on this at an upcoming service. Or express your anger, fear or grief over these attacks during the joys and sorrows at your congregation’s next worship service.
- Build Unitarian Universalist community with other Black, Indigenous and People of Color through DRUUMM– Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries. Participate in UU programs like Beloved Conversations. Learn about and support BLUU– Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism.
- Either write your own letter or work with your congregation to write a letter to your local newspaper no matter where you live, even if there isn’t a large API community there. If you live there, then there is a need to address this issue.
- Challenge yourself to:
- Understand how white supremacy culture operates and learn how to begin to dismantle it.
- Learn more about the long and diverse history of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.
- Know how the model minority myth works to support anti-Black racism and find ways to dismantle it.
- Learn about the intersections of Asian American and Black history and unity.
- Push for comprehensive ethnic studies in all grades. Kids need this education, too.
As Grace Lee Boggs said, “change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.” We each have a role to play and our active care makes a difference. May we live from the truth of the inherent worth of all people and our interconnectedness with each other. May we work towards our collective liberation. May we all be safe.
- Here is a link to the statement from the Steering Committee of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of DRUUMM.
- Here is a link to a statement from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Blessings and love to each of you.