May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, an important time to learn and recognize the contributions that AAPIs have made to enriching this nation’s culture and society. This month and beyond, let’s commit to ending all forms of violence against AAPI communities and all communities of color.
As violence in all its forms continues against communities of color, we are caught in a whirlwind of responding while making sense of what we are witnessing daily. Since the Atlanta shooting, there was the mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility, where four of eight workers killed were members of the Sikh community. The latest dispatch from Stop AAPI Hate reports 6,600 incidents. At AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, we are focused on addressing the rise in anti-Asian violence with an intersectional frame so that it is not reduced to a compilation of individual incidents but understood as part of a continuum, and as being representative of structural racism.
Take, for example, the issue of state violence. On April 20, 2021, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd, including second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin is only the 8th officer convicted of a police killing since 2005, with more than 16,000 killings in over 15 years. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than whites. These numbers are staggering and so too is the reality that, days before and after this historic verdict, the killings continued. They include Michael Leon Hughes, a 32-year-old father of two young boys, killed in Jacksonville (FL); Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old man, killed in Brooklyn Center (MN); 42-year-old Andrew Brown, Jr., killed by Pasquotank County (NC) deputies; and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, killed in Columbus (OH).
While Black people are disproportionately targeted by the police, AAPIs have also been impacted. In the last year, 19-year-old Christian Hall, a Chinese American adoptee killed by Pennsylvania State Police; 30-year-old navy veteran and Filipino immigrant, Angelo Quinto was killed after an Antioch police officer kneeled on his neck for over four minutes; 31-year-old Rescue Eram from Guam was killed by police in San Marcos (TX); and Iremamber Sykap, a Micronesian 16-year-old was killed by Honolulu (HI) officers.
Police are public employees, and thus these killings are the most blatant form of state violence. The entrenchment of white supremacy within the military and police was most vividly displayed on January 6 during the Capitol insurrection. On that day, white nationalists, many trained by the state, walked in to wreak havoc in the highest legislative body in the nation.
America is grappling with race and racism in a way that it has not for quite some time. The groups we support on the ground know that it is time for critical thinking and action. They know that it is time for not only community caretaking and solidarity with communities of color, but also the ramping up of AAPI civic engagement like never before.
The stakes have never been greater, but so, too, is the opportunity to dismantle racial and social injustice.
Below are links to statements and actions over the last several weeks from AAPI groups supported by the Fund and part of the Shared Liberation Network. These organizations are on the ground and leading this work:
- A3PCON (CA): George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and too many others
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (GA): Indianapolis, Derek Chauvin verdict
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago (IL): Indianapolis, Daunte Wright, Derek Chauvin verdict
- Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (OR): Indianapolis
- CAPI USA: Derek Chauvin verdict
- Cia Siab (WI): Daunte Wright
- Coalition of Asian American Leaders (MN): Posts about Indianapolis (1) (2), One verdict cannot right an unjust system
- Emgage: Derek Chauvin verdict
- Filipino Advocates for Justice (CA): Indianapolis
- Freedom Inc. (WI): Daunte Wright, Statement on Derek Chauvin Trial and Madison Police Response
- HANA Center (IL): Our Statement on the Killing of Adam Toledo, One Step on a Long Road to Justice (Derek Chauvin verdict)
- Hmong Innovating Politics (CA): Daunte Wright
- Korean Resource Center (CA): KRC Statement Regarding Derek Chauvin Verdict
- North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NC): Joint Statement from The Triangle Sikh Foundation (TSF), North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT), and NCAAT in Action in response to the Indianapolis shooting
- OCA-Greater Houston (TX): OCA Statement on Daunte Wright’s Death and Police Brutality, OCA Stands with the Sikh Community
- Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (MN): Daunte Wright, This is not justice. It is minimal accountability. (Derek Chauvin verdict)
- Rising Voices of Asian American Families (MI): Daunte Wright, Justice is not a verdict. It is a practice.
- Southeast Asian Freedom Network: Daunte Wright
- VAYLA New Orleans (LA): Indianapolis, Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright
For more information and concrete actions to advance racial equity and intersectional justice, visit the Movement Hub. This resource provides information about our partners, resources in Asian languages, data and statistics about AAPIs by state and county level, and information on policies that affect policing and promote a long-term progressive AAPI movement.