For Immediate Release
Contact: Tim McCann
March 19, 2021
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon represents a diverse group of people who identify broadly as Asian. We stand with our siblings to condemn the continuing trend of violence and harm against innocent people.
The news of the mass shooting in Atlanta has left us devastated, and has traumatized the AAPI community across the nation. The senseless violence that took place at Asian-owned businesses was clearly rooted in racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and white supremacy.
Today we collectively mourn and hold in our hearts the victims, among them six Asian American women whose lives were taken too soon; Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon C. Park, and Yong A. Yue must be remembered and honored. We must condemn not only the atrocity that occurred this past week but also condemn the stain of racism and sexism that contradict the doctrine and values our country professes.
The dramatic escalation of violence against Asians did not happen by accident. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Asian Americans have been scapegoated as the source and cause of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and right-of-center politicians and right-wing media have cynically pushed racially charged rhetoric, resulting in violence. According to Stop AAPI Hate, over 3,800 AAPIs have reported hate and bias, 81.5% of AAPI youth reported being bullied or harassed, and there has been a staggering surge in hate crimes in the last year, with incidents increasing by nearly 150%.
This recent surge in hate crimes and acts of violence follows centuries of systemic racism, from federal orders targeting immigrants of Asian descent in order to capitalize on xenophobic zeal such as the Chinese exclusion Act of 1882, to the Johnson-Reed Act (The Immigration Act) of 1924 completely excluding immigrants from Asia, to Executive Order 9066 that forced Japanese-Americans into internment camps in 1942, to nuclear weapons testing that exiled Pacific Islanders from their land and subsequently causing environmental and health defects to island residents (1946-1962).
Today, racially driven violence directed against Asian Americans is part of the larger context of the violence against immigrants, refugees, and communities of color. Regardless of where anti-AAPI racism exists in our communities, at this moment we must unite and rigorously work toward ending anti-AAPI hate and discrimination of all forms.
We see you, we hear you, and we all belong here and deserve to exist with dignity and respect.
– The Democratic Party of Oregon Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus