Dear Friends and Supporters of LAFLA,
We at LAFLA are appalled by the unspeakable tragedy in the Atlanta area that claimed the lives of eight victims, including six Asian women. This is the latest attack in a horrifying surge in violence, blame, and xenophobia against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first response must be to help the families and loved ones of the victims.
We also must acknowledge that the increase in anti-AAPI violence is fueled by systemic racism, white supremacy, and misogyny. Although the pandemic exposed and exacerbated these issues, racism and violence against AAPI communities have existed for centuries and are rooted deeply throughout our history, from the trafficking of Asian women and girls in San Francisco in the 1800s and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II to other hate crimes, such as the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin and the 2012 massacre at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.
Other recent violent acts have included harassment and assaults on elderly Asian Americans and the death of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old man out on his daily walk in San Francisco. Closer to home we have seen a rise in hate crimes, including the vandalism of the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo; the assault on a 27-year-old Korean American Air Force veteran in Koreatown; the attack on a 51-year-old Asian American man waiting for a bus in Rosemead (beaten with his own cane, he lost a finger because of the assault); and multiple recent incidents throughout Greater LA. The fear that these attacks have stoked is growing. Nearly 44% of all incidents that have been reported to STOP AAPI Hate have come from California. Cultural and language access has very likely kept the AAPI community from reporting more incidents.
The solution to this violence is investment and resources in communities. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services for those who have been victimized as well as investment in community-based approaches are means to address this violence. Dismantling structural inequities and systemic racism must be the focus.
All of us deserve to be safe from violence: BIPOC communities for too long have not enjoyed that privilege. At this moment, we need to come together and join with our AAPI brothers and sisters to secure safety, resources, and investment for our communities to be safe and to heal. I am grateful for the leadership of the staff of the API Community Outreach Project at LAFLA in ensuring cultural and linguistically appropriate resources to communities that have been isolated and unable to have meaningful access to the courts and government agencies.
Together we stand in solidarity with the AAPI community not only at this time but always. We condemn hate in all forms — and we will continue our fight to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination.
Silvia R. Argueta
Action Items and Resources
Report a hate incident: https://stopaapihate.org
Report a hate incident and read the stories: https://standagainsthatred.org
Attend a bystander hate incident intervention training: https://advancingjustice-chicago.org/what-we-do/bystander-intervention-trainings/
Donate to organizations that support AAPI communities: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-to-help-asian-communities-2021.html