Beloved Rockwood Community,
I again write to you with a heavy heart and sadness, this time about increasing and ongoing hatred and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
This last year has been one of the most violent years in recent history for the AAPI community. Stop AAPI Hate reported that there has been nearly 4,000 recorded hate crimes across all 50 states since the start of the pandemic. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders facing multiple systems of oppression have been specifically targeted, including those who are poor, undocumented, disabled, queer, transgender and gender nonconforming, sex workers, and elders. They are routinely targeted and deemed disposable by the violence of white supremacy and imperialism.
This is completely unacceptable, and we have to do everything in our power to root out this hatred and protect our friends, family, and colleagues.
As a community, let us be aware of our community members who are at risk, and support and protect them. For those on the receiving end of the hateful rhetoric and horrific violence of this last year, please know that the trauma is real. Take whatever time you need to grieve and heal and get the support you need to be as safe as possible. We are with you.
As a Black person, I know what it is like to be under constant threat in a country that is ignorant and hateful, and I want you to know you have my unwavering support. This country is built on lies and deceits that continue to haunt us because we haven’t acknowledged them. White supremacy is deadly, especially to those of us who have been exotified, brutalized, colonized, and flat-out used to build the backbone of this country. I am angry, hurt, and ashamed of this country today.
It should not require a violent mass shooting for us to acknowledge the centuries-long history of racist othering and scapegoating of Asian American and Pacific Islanders and the toxic misogyny targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander women in particular. Those of us who know the truth must demand action that will halt this violence immediately. I believe that begins with rooting out white supremacy in every corner of our society and demanding policies that criminalize white nationalism without hesitation. We must remove leaders who condone this behavior or fuel it by their inflammatory rhetoric and their actions.
Thankfully, we have moved on to an administration that doesn’t spew hateful language towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but I don’t think we are doing enough to stop the violence. New laws, new policies, and new leaders are needed to shift the current state of things. We need leaders that are heart-centered and visionary around ideas of community safety and accountability and will build systems of care and protection that are rooted in our interdependence.
We can be a country that honors and supports BIPOC people, but we must confront our history, stamp out white supremacy and settler colonialism, end senseless violence and ignorance, and build inch-by-inch a world that provides equity, liberation, and sustainability for all.
Out of respect for the victims and their loved ones, we are not including their names here, but may they transition in peace and rest in power, and may we all live to see better days.
Additional text, thoughts, and language from Qurratulain Sajid, Viveka Chen, Helen Kim, and Sharon Price.
For ways to support Georgia’s AAPI communities, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta created this guide. You can also sign a letter calling for a community-centered response to this tragedy and donate to the victims’ families.
For resources on anti-Asian violence, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance has created this guide.