We have witnessed the horrific rise in anti-Asian discrimination and violence, fueled by abhorrent xenophobia throughout the past year. We are deeply saddened and frustrated by the recent murder of eight people in Atlanta in a blatant act of racist violence.
To our friends and colleagues in the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community: we stand with you in solidarity. We join you in your mourning and frustration. We want to emphasize that it isn’t your responsibility to educate your non-AAPI colleagues on this or other issues facing your community or “put on a brave face” for the sake of their comfort.
For our non-AAPI colleagues and community members, here are tangible ways you can support your colleagues without taking the focus away from them:
- Recognize that this event is another expression of racism and discrimination during a heightened period of violence against AAPI. The impact on individuals will vary and going to be awful and hard to process. Now is not the time for a workshopped statement filled with euphemisms like “racially-charged.” Call this what it is - a racist hate crime.
- Recognize that employees may be fearful of asking for time to process these events and may need to be encouraged to take care of their wellbeing. Make it feasible for your employees to take time away from work to process and grieve.
- Recognize that grieving is a private experience, and there is distrust within white spaces. Recognize that it is not your marginalized colleagues’ or community members’ responsibility to educate you.
- Listen. Now more than ever, it’s essential to listen to your employees who are processing trauma and meet them where they need you. Be there, feel, and let them lead their journey of healing and grieving.
- Don't try to offer solutions or “see the bright side” in things. When confronted with trauma, we often look at what we're doing well as a salve for what's out of our control. Avoid this impulse. Let people feel what they’re feeling, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Resist your desire to practice toxic positivism.
- If you don't have a relationship with your AAPI colleagues, avoid the individual check-in at this time. Few things feel worse than being reached out to only when there are pain and trauma but ignored during the rest of the year. If they come to you, offer that space to listen and learn. If they don't, understand that they need someone else right now.
- If you do not identify as AAPI, respect and give AAPI colleagues space. They may prefer to grieve privately. Do not add to their emotional and mental load your own emotions and your outrage.
- Focus your energy on interrupting racism wherever you see it. Stop letting “jokes” slide or making excuses for someone “who just isn't PC.” Let those around you know that bigoted comments are not acceptable within your workplace or your personal life.
- If the events come up in discussion in meetings, be the first to condemn racism. Take the lead in honoring the lives lost to racism.
- Donate to organizations led by AAPI who are at the forefront of fighting racism and injustice. Below you’ll find a list of organizations doing the work across North America.
Step Up: Equity Matter’s commitment to fighting against systemic injustices and bridging inequities in opportunity and access galvanizes our condemnation of racism in any form it takes. It includes denouncing the disparagement of the victims’ personal lives and the conversation around these women’s work. Roxane Gay said it best:
“As the discourse proceeds, people will try to derail the conversation by talking about the nature of the women’s work in the three massage parlors where they were murdered as if their lives somehow matter less if they are sex workers. Sex work is work. Their lives matter. We have to stand up for them. We have to learn all their names. We have to do everything we can to ensure that this wave of violence ends here and now. And, while we’re at it, we need to protect sex workers with more than empty, self-serving rhetoric about human trafficking as if all sex workers are trafficked and merely saying the phrase “human trafficking,” is activism. It is not.”
Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon C. Park, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong A. Yue deserve justice. There is no place for judgment of them. Be aware of how events like these can dehumanize the victims. Stand together by honoring the needs of AAPI colleagues, friends, and family. Let them have agency over their grief and lead the triumph over racial violence.
Speak up, stand up, step up!
Show Your Support for AAPI Communities
Freedom Inc. works to achieve social justice through coupling direct services with leadership development and community organizing that will bring about social, political, cultural, and economic change resulting in the end of violence against women, gender-non-conforming and transgender folks, and children within communities of color.
Hmong American Women’s Association
HAWA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 by a group of thirteen community women who had a strong passion to advocate, organize and share concerns reflected by women in the larger Hmong community.
Formed in 1986 by ten founders who believed in empowering and educating the Hmong and other Southeast Asian communities, WUCMAA’s efforts have been able to provide various programs to help support families for over 30 years.
AAPI Progressive Action
AAPI Progressive Action works to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, connect AAPI communities and their leaders, and promote awareness and action for progressive AAPI causes.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
AAAJ’s mission is to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
NAPAWF works to build a movement for social, political, and structural change for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls.
Red Canary Song
A grassroots collective of Asian and migrant sex workers, Red Canary Song organizes transnationally to base-build with migrant workers through a labor rights framework and mutual aid.
Stop AAPI Hate
The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Chinese for Affirmative Action
CAA advocates for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity and remedies racial and social injustice.
Stop Asian Hate
A toolkit for addressing anti-Asian bias, discrimination, and hate.
Bystander Intervention Training (Online)
Advancing Justice | Chicago is partnering with New York-based nonprofit Hollaback! and CAIR-Chicago to plan and implement an aggressive scaling up of locally-led bystander hate incident intervention trainings for community members.