We are reeling. We see our families in the six Asian women killed in Atlanta this week. To us, hate crimes against the AAPI community are not a statistic. Awareness and pain are not buffered by distance. In the faces of these women, we see our sisters, our mothers — ourselves — being massacred.
We are incensed: to hear a narrative that directs sympathy toward the shooter — who was “having a bad day.” Another lone gunman? One more "tormented soul" character who snapped? Stop this discourse. Terrorists are not more human than their victims. The lives and the legacies of those who are lost are what matters. Work with us to correct the narrative.
Whether or not this terrorist is ever charged with a racially motivated hate crime, we should acknowledge that femicide is by definition also a hate crime. These women were murdered because of their identities. The gunman’s motivation to eliminate these six Asian women was fueled by hate. Again - work with us to correct the narrative.
Hate crimes against AAPI communities are up 150 percent since Trump squarely and repeatedly blamed China for creating this pandemic, and Asian women are twice as likely to be victimized. Join us in standing against these racist attacks, discrimination and hatred.
YOU CAN TAKE ACTION:
Stand in Solidarity at the OCA “Stop Asian Hate” vigil rally tomorrow, Saturday, March 20th from 5PM-7PM at Discovery Green.
Flood the phone lines of the Republican Representatives— there were 172 of them — who voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Put pressure on each of them.
Join Moms Demand Action to push for gun legislation that makes sense. Terrorists should not have access to guns. Abusers should not have access to guns. The madness must stop.
Learn from anti-hate coalition groups on how to be an anti-hate advocate. Do more than simply expressing support. Become involved in supporting change:
- OCA Greater Houston - Asian Pacific American Advocates
- Asian American Advancing Justice
- AF3IRM - A Transnational Feminist Organization
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Coalition for Asian American Children & Families
- Southern Poverty Law Center
Protecting Asian lives requires collective care and legislative action.
We earnestly urge all Democrats who seek progress to lift the mantle of human rights. Raise it high. The rhetoric of condemnation is not enough. Hashtags do not resurrect the dead. Help us end the campaign of violence against our loved ones.
Palwasha Sharwani is the Elections Director for the Harris County Democratic Party. She's an activist for voting rights, equity building, and social justice. She's also a proud post colonial feminist.
This piece was first published in the Texas Signal on March 19, 2021.