Show Up for AAPI Communities
The Reproductive Health Access Project is in solidarity with our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) colleagues, friends, and loved ones across the United States in condemning the white supremacist violence at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on Tuesday, which resulted in the deaths of eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent and seven of whom were women. We recognize that this is only one instance in a wave of violence perpetuated against AAPI communities, especially women, over the last year.
Far-reaching hate speech and purposeful misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic – designed to stoke fear and lay blame – has led to a 150% increase in reported hate crimes against AAPI communities in major U.S. cities since the beginning of the pandemic. However, anti-Asian racism has deep roots in this country, including organized violence against Asian immigrants accused of “taking jobs” and “bringing diseases,” People v. Hall, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment, disproportionate targeting of Muslims and Sikhs in counterterrorism responses, and many more instances of institutionalized racism and xenophobia.
Throughout the pandemic, our society has relied much more heavily on the work of delivery drivers, custodial staff, home health aides, hospitality and salon workers, and more, making these folks – many of whom are immigrants – responsible for upholding measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission without protecting, honoring, or compensating them in return. Asian American women make up a large percentage of workers in these low-wage service industries, compounding their risks of experiencing violence and COVID-19 exposure. The hypersexualization of Asian women in American media is another tool of white supremacy that dehumanizes, Others, and erases the diversity of their lived experiences and makes them especially vulnerable. In fact, with the recent increase in reported hate crimes, Asian American women have reported violence at a rate 2.3 times higher than men.
RHAP’s mission of making reproductive health care accessible to everyone requires looking at individuals within the context of their larger communities and positions in society. The AAPI clinicians we work with cannot be removed from their personal and community experiences. They put their lives on the line to protect the public’s health, yet face blame for the pandemic and have patients who suddenly distrust them – all while being subject to the stress of these horrific acts against their communities. This is white supremacy at work.
To uproot anti-Asian racism, we must take collective action that centers AAPI community members who are subject to the intersection of state and gender oppression. Investing in the criminal justice system, especially policing, in order to address this violence is not the solution. Rather, our communities require resources, social support, and leaders who create meaningful policies that uphold justice, equity, and transformative structural change. Join RHAP in supporting the vision and calls to action of AAPI-led organizations that have been engaging in anti-racism and reproductive justice movement work for decades, such as the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum and CAAAV.
Ways to show solidarity through action:
- Donate to, share, and support organizations who work directly with AAPI Communities, including the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum, CAAV, Red Canary Song, and Asian Pacific Fund.
- Visit stopaapihate.org to report if you or someone you know experiences an anti-AAPI attack.
- Support local AAPI-owned businesses.
- Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz is a bystander who was critically injured during Tuesday’s attacks. Contribute to his medical bills.
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