A statement from the staff and board of The California Wellness Foundation
Our Asian sisters and brothers are in anguish, fear and pain. The recent murders of eight people in Atlanta, six of the people Asian women, have sounded yet another alarm that members of our Asian communities know all too well: They are not safe. No one can be well if they are living in fear – fear that the color of their skin, their gender, their sexuality, where they come from, will be reason for someone to attack, or even kill them.
We are outraged. We grieve for the people whose lives were stolen, and we condemn the wave of intensifying violence against AAPI people across the nation. These murders are not isolated. They stem from a long history of racism and unpunished violence toward Asian American and Pacific Islander people in the United States that goes back as far as the 1800’s. Most recently, the racist speech of the former president equating the coronavirus with Chinese people has fanned latent racism and given it permission to spread. This is unacceptable. We know that when politicians use racist rhetoric, it leads to increases in hate crimes and racially motivated violence.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, a project that tracks and responds to incidents of hate against AAPI people, there have been at least 3,800 incidents of hate crimes against Asians reported in the past year, ranging from verbal assaults to physical attacks to murder. 68% of these incidents are against Asian women.
You can see the impact of this violence by reading our board member Geri Yang-Johnson’s personal perspective on these hate crimes against her community in the Fresno Bee here. PBS Newshour recently ran a powerful video story showing how violence against AAPI communities is increasing in Oakland, California (and the LA Times ran this piece about volunteers offering protection and support).
Cal Wellness has made investments over the last year to support AAPI communities and to counter the rise in hate-based violence that targets them. Some of the groups that we are supporting include Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, which fights for the civil rights of Asian Americans, Chinese for Affirmative Action, which co-developed the Stop AAPI Hate project, and the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, which tracks incidents of violence, harassment and discrimination against Asians.
We ask that you join us in taking a stand for the civil rights and well-being of AAPI people in our communities. Learn their history, their contributions, and respect their diversity of culture and history. Collectively, we must continue to fight racism and white supremacy in all its forms so that our state and our country can truly be a democracy in which all of us can be well.