Content warning: this message discusses racist violence.
My heart is heavy as I sit down to write this letter.
On March 16, a man chose to murder eight people at three different spas in Atlanta. This is only the latest in a continuous thread of racist violence and hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. In 2020, Stop AAPI Hate reported 3800 racist incidents against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, a number that is growing in the wake of racist rhetoric around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Asian-American and Pacific Islander” is a broad label, and I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the diverse identities represented within:
East Asian Americans, including Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Taiwanese Americans, and many others
Southeast Asian Americans, including Vietnamese Americans, Laotian Americans, Thai Americans, Filipino Americans, Hmong Americans, Khmer Americans, and many others
South Asian Americans, including Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans, Sri Lankan Americans, Bangladeshi Americans, Indo-Caribbean Americans, and many others
Pacific Islanders, including Samoans, Fijians, Tongans, Hawaiians, Māori, Marshallese, and many others
People of multiracial descent
And many more equally important identities.
In addition to white supremacist hate aimed at all people of color, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are subject to targeted racist incidents, from questions like “Where are you from?” to insulting rhymes, mockery of accents, the hyper-sexualization of Asian-American and Pacific Islander women, and violent or even deadly physical attacks.
I cannot – and will not – speak for the experiences of my Asian-American and Pacific Islander friends and loved ones. But I can say that, if we wish to be considered allies, each of us has a responsibility to speak out against hate, discrimination, and racial violence whenever and however we can.
This past week, I have been reflecting on the times I – and 7000 Languages – could have done more to advance the well-being of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. I hope this honest accounting can help us recognize what we have done wrong, or failed to do, so that we can take meaningful steps to change for the better.
At 7000 Languages, we are making a commitment to:
Continue pushing back against hate speech targeting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders,
Make a concerted effort to include more Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities in our language reclamation programs, and
Build stronger, more reciprocal relationships with initiatives led by Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in our own community.
The leaders in this fight are the organizations whose missions are dedicated to striking back against white supremacy and AAPI hate, including:
18 Million Rising
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta
Asian American Advocacy Fund
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Stop AAPI Hate
The Center for Asian Pacific American Women
Asian Mental Health Collective
Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE)
Please consider visiting their websites to learn more and donating to support their vital work: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ab_stopasianhate.
And to take action, check out the resource card here: https://antiasianviolenceresources.carrd.co/
If you witness a hate incident, please report it at Stop AAPI Hate.
Finally, if you are an Asian-American or Pacific Islander and are struggling to process the painful events of last week, here are some resources you may find useful:
Asian Mental Health Collective – resources and hotlines
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association – mental health providers by state
Project Lotus – dealing with grief
As I close this letter, we solemnly remember Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yuan, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and the countless other victims of Asian-American and Pacific Islander hate in the United States.
Our hearts and deepest sympathy are with their families.
Alexa Little Executive Director, 7000 Languages
and the 7000 Languages team