Last week, on Tuesday March 16, a white man shot and killed 8 people in 3 Atlanta-area massage parlors. Six of the victims were Asian. Seven were women. With deep respect for and solidarity with our Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community members, neighbors, and local businesses here in Medfield, the Medfield Together Steering Committee names these murders as demonstrations of racial, gender and class-based violence.
These hate crimes are situated in the context of decades of individual and systemic harm posed to AAPI communities across the United States and rooted in the deeply entrenched systems of oppression that are rooted in this country’s founding. In these moments of national division on complex racial issues, we are reminded of James Baldwin stating in his collection of essays Notes of a Native Son, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” Still, some news media outlets are claiming these murders are not motivated by race, gender, or class and call those claims ‘un-American’. Condemning systemic violence is not un-American.
We unequivocally stand with AAPI communities and denounce these hate crimes against working-class Asian women, women who disproportionately face fetishization, misogyny, poverty, alienation, erasure, and violence. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the organization Stop AAPI Hate has received over 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents (an increase of almost 150% from the previous year). A majority of these incidents are reported by women. Author Joanna Ho, writer of the beloved children’s book Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, tweeted, “it shouldn’t take mass murder before people sit up and start listening.”
We want the Medfield community to know we are listening. We acknowledge, since our formation last year, we have prioritized the amplification of our Black and Indigenous community members’ experiences, with our initiatives focusing on change efforts to increase equity in our schools and within our community spaces. While we have AAPI #ownvoices books on our Little Inclusive Library Lists, we are actively evaluating how we can better Listen to, Learn from, and Act in solidarity with our local AAPI community.
We invite any AAPI members of our community to be a part of this process so we ensure we are amplifying the right voices, and those who are impacted most by these acts of violence.
We will and must do better. Please join us in a dedicated commitment to taking these steps to stopping AAPI hate locally and elsewhere.
Actions you can take immediately:
- Respect and learn to pronounce people’s names
- Stop or call out jokes about race. They are not funny. They fuel prejudice and promote racism.
- Proactively, talk about stereotypes and bigotry, and ask interrupting questions like, “what did you mean by that?” and “can you explain why that’s funny to you? Because it’s not to me”
- Support Asian owned businesses
Ways you can learn more:
- Anti-Asian Violence Resources
- Asian Americans – A five-hour film series on the history of identity, contributions, and challenges experienced by Asian Americans. (PBS)
- “Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their Safety” New York Times
- “Covid fueled anti-Asian racism. Now elderly Asian Americans are being attacked.” Washington Post
Organizations you can support:
BOOKS YOU CAN READ
Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction:
The Making of Asian America
All You Can Ever Know
Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey
Eyes That Kiss in the Corner
The Name Jar
I Dream of Popo
A Different Pond
Middle Grades to Young Adult
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire
Girl Giant and the Monkey King
A Place to Belong
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
The Great Law of Lucy Wu
The Twelve by Cindy Lin
We invite any AAPI members of our community to reach out to us to ensure we are amplifying the right voices, and those who are impacted most by these acts of violence.
Take action and be an accomplice to support for our Asian community members
If you have any additional resources or sources to add to this announcement, please let us know.