As we witness nationwide, violent attacks on Asian and Asian American individuals, we recognize the pain of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and condemn continued patterns of racist violence.
The March 2021 murders in Atlanta were acts of racialized misogyny, and follow a particularly violence-filled year for AAPI communities. Racist slurs surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic fueled existing anti-Asian sentiments and violence. This violence is deeply concerning for those working against gender-based violence, and has been especially pervasive for AAPI individuals already experiencing hyper-sexualization and misogyny.
It is essential that we, as advocates in anti-violence movements, refuse to ignore the ways systems of white supremacy contribute to dehumanization. We amplify the words of the Hmong American Women’s Association’s Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline:
“These tragedies were fueled by patriarchy, colonialism, and white supremacy. We are calling you to action by always being attentive to friends and families who may be experiencing violence in their home, and to condemn white supremacy and racist systems and policies in your community and in spaces you occupy.”
All oppression is connected. White supremacy, gender-based violence, firearms legislation, sex workers’ rights, policing, immigrant rights – these issues must not be treated as unrelated. How they overlap when inappropriately addressed or unaddressed entirely leads to lives lost, loved ones grieving, and communities harmed. Today’s violence becomes tomorrow’s historical trauma, unless we work towards better today.
As we grieve, we continue our work to dismantle white supremacy culture in ourselves and in the anti-violence movement. We commit to leveraging our privileges and shifting our norms until those most marginalized are centered, free from violence, and thriving.
For culturally-specific advocacy in WI, we encourage others and commit ourselves to supporting and following the leadership of groups such as the Hmong American Women’s Association., Cia Siab, the Hmong American Friendship Association – HAFA, the Black & Brown Womyn Power Coalition, Freedom, Inc., and the AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin.
In the words of artist and justice strategist Aisha Fukushima:
“It’s important to remember that this is not only a concern for the “Asian American community,” but also for America as a whole. The roots of this hatred are connected to a history that we all have a role in helping to change. By understanding the interconnection of these heinous forms of violence, we can also be better equipped to build critical solidarity across identities in order to realize better worlds ahead.”