We at Pride Foundation are writing to you with grief in our hearts as we mourn the loss of the women murdered by a white man in Atlanta this week in a vicious hate crime that targeted Asian women. As we have learned to do as a community, we say the names of the people we’ve lost and hold space for their humanity, the impact they made in this world, and the friends, family, and community who loved them dearly.
Park Hyeon Jeong
Delaina Ashley Yaun
Paul Andre Michels
And the two other women whose names have not yet been released
We are writing in unwavering solidarity and with deep conviction that it is our collective work, as a community, to dismantle white supremacy and misogyny that were at the core of this and so much more violence, harm, and inequity. Like too many BIPOC in our communities, Asians and Asian Americans in the U.S. right now are likely waking up with more fear than this time a year ago—or even just a week ago.
Over the course of the past year, many of our close Asian American colleagues and friends have shared experiences of verbal and physical violence, as well as the impact that living in this heartbreaking climate of fear has had on their lives and their communities. Story after story of normal days being shattered by hateful tirades directed at them, things thrown at them through passing car windows, or discrimination they’ve experienced on the job.
While racism against Asian Americans is certainly not new, rates have risen dramatically in the COVID-19 pandemic because of the perpetuation of anti-Asian rhetoric. Asian Americans have been targeted in nearly 3,800 recorded hateful incidents in just the past year, the majority of which were against women. And what we’re hearing anecdotally confirms this truth, and suggests that the actual number is far higher.
This violence is pervading every area of our society—in rural and urban areas, in restaurants and grocery stories, in parks and on public transit. Growing racism, white supremacy, and hatred has meant a devastating surge in violence and a culture that seems to say loud and clear who is worthy of living and thriving.
This was the world and context in which 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian American women, were murdered in Atlanta on Tuesday. This is also the world in which Asian women are fetishized and hypersexualized. And this is the world where sex workers’ lives are too often put in harm’s way due to stigma, criminalization, and over-policing.
Over the past year, the increased public and political attention to the pervasiveness of racism and white supremacy in our institutions is a critical step toward change. But ending racism, always and especially in moments like this, also requires us to focus our individual and collective awareness on the impact that white supremacy has on individuals—on our friends, our family, our coworkers, our loved ones.
Asian Americans in our communities are hurting, grieving, and impacted. Not only for the violence itself, but for a society that tells them that it’s not real—that the racism they’re experiencing isn’t as bad.
To Asian Americans in our communities: we see your pain and your grief, we stand in solidarity with you, and we condemn the violence and hatred that has targeted you for far too long. We are committed to continuing to fight for a world where racism, hatred, and bigotry don’t get to dictate when and where you feel safe. Together, we will reimagine and rebuild a world where we can all live and thrive—and we won’t stop until we get there.
To report incidents of violence against Asian Americans, please visit Stop AAPI Hate.