Words are inadequate to account for the horrific violence that took the lives of eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian, and all but one was female. The disturbing reality is that the lives of these women were tragically cut short, victims of hate and senseless violence.
While the details and motives of the shootings are still emerging, we cannot look away from the increasing racism, bigotry, and violence against Asian Americans. Too many of our Asian American friends, colleagues, and partners are now experiencing even more pronounced fear, grief, and anxiety. Our frequent partner, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, said it well, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the same way, hate and violence directed at Asian Americans is a threat to us all.
This rising trend is yet another expression of white supremacy and systemic racism. America has a long history of anti-Asian American bigotry, as demonstrated in the 1940s internment of Japanese Americans and post-9/11 xenophobic targeting of South Asians and Muslims. Most recently, the former president stoked the fires of anti-Asian sentiment by repeatedly lying and blaming Asians for the COVID-19 outbreak. While the United States’ long and unjust history of marginalizing and discriminating against Asian Americans and other communities of color hardly began with the former president, it must end with him. We must continue to reckon with our nation’s racist past and dismantle the ongoing scourge of white supremacy if we are to heal and build the truly inclusive society to which we aspire.
We at ON stand in solidarity and in heartfelt grief with our Asian-American colleagues and all communities of color that deeply feel the pain of these senseless murders, and the rise in hate crimes more generally.