Dear Community Members,
Last night, a terrible tragedy occurred in Atlanta, where a white man shot and killed 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian American and all but one were women.
These murders are affecting Asian American communities in painful ways. This past year, Asian Americans have had to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the spread of COVID-19 and the coinciding spread of violence fueled by xenophobia, white supremacy, and systemic racism. Both sides of the aisle are guilty of perpetuating this, from Trump’s consistent attributions of COVID-19 to China to then candidate and now President Biden’s racist and Orientalist posturing about China as a mythical techno-threat to the U.S. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the U.S. plans to spend $27.4 billion to establish a network of precision-strike missiles along the Asian coast from Japan to Vietnam and crossing China, the Philippines, and Taiwan. A recent Gallup poll reported that 45% of Americans now believe China is the greatest enemy to the U.S., which is more than double the percentage who said so in 2020. With a government that considers the entirety of Asia as an uniform threat, it is sadly unsurprising to see these manifestations of anti-Asian violence here in the U.S.
Sexual exploitation and misogyny, intertwined with racism, resulted in a white man dehumanizing Asian women as “temptations” and objects to eliminate. This harkens to a long history of fetishizing women of Asian heritage as submissive, feminine, and sexually compliant, and the proliferation of sex industries around U.S. military bases in Asian countries. Southeast Asian communities have long highlighted the incredible violence against children, women, and gender-nonconforming folx forced into the global sex industry.
This mass shooting is also part of a larger story of marginalized communities terrorized by hate-fueled violence. We grieve these deaths as we do the ongoing police murders of Black people like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the 23 Latinx community members in El Paso, Texas, the 9 Black community members in Charleston, South Carolina, the 11 Jewish American community members in Pittsburgh, PA and the mostly Latinx and LGBTQ community members in Orlando, Florida.
These individual attacks are not the only violence that Asian Americans are facing. This past Monday, 33 Vietnamese Americans were deported. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants, including 1.7 million Asian Americans, who are forced to live in the shadows. Thousands of intercountry adoptees, over half of which are of Asian heritage, are undocumented despite being adopted by U.S. citizens. This is state violence, in the form of deportations and refusal to recognize one’s belonging to a country.
We call on Congress to immediately legislate a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and permanently end detentions and deportations. We also call on the Biden administration to stop all the ways it perpetuates anti-Asian hatred, from its billion dollar anti-Asia missile network to its racist foreign policy rhetoric. We demand that our federal, state, and local governments invest in sustained programming for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services to immigrants, women, and communities of color. It is critical that programming be led and provided by linguistically and culturally competent members of the communities served to ensure that vulnerable communities are met where their needs are.
In the spirit of unity, the NAKASEC network will be convening a cross-community dialogue this Friday evening, March 19th with our partners at the UndocuBlack Network and United We Dream to discuss anti-Asian violence and the impact of racism and xenophobia on all communities, and our call to action. RSVP HERE.
Lastly, we say this to Asian Americans — we see you.
We would also like to share the following powerful statements:
In love, community and solidarity,
The NAKASEC Network