This past week has been marked by collective grief and shock following the eight horrific murders in Georgia at Asian-owned businesses, including six Asian women. Our team at Stand for Children Washington is standing in solidarity with members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to condemn these acts of anti-Asian violence and honor the lives of Daoyou Feng, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon C. Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong A. Yue.
If you would like to directly support their families and the AAPI Community Fund, we encourage you to do so through this page.
The violence this past week has happened amidst a year-long surge in anti-Asian hate crimes that troublingly began across our country with the onset of the pandemic. Over a year ago, in February of 2020, immigrant and refugee community leaders and organizations in Washington named and condemned a rise in harassment and bias towards Asian community members following reports of COVID-19 in China. It is important to recognize that anti-Asian violence is not new in our country or our state - it was almost 80 years ago that 13,000 Washington residents of Japanese and Asian descent were sent to incarceration camps by our government.
The reality we must acknowledge is that these symptoms of endemic racism are widespread and impacting AAPI students, families, educators, and communities in Washington state. In their March 16th report on the rise of anti-Asian crimes nationally, Stop AAPI Hate reported that Washington state has had the third-highest number of reported hate incidents in the country. The 158 reported incidents are likely a vast underrepresentation of the reality that many AAPI community members are facing daily.
As education advocates, our mission to ensure that every student receives a relevant, high-quality education can only be achieved when every student feels safe, seen, and affirmed within their community and school environment. At Stand for Children, we fully agree with Stop AAPI Hate “that in order to effectively address anti-Asian racism we must work to end all forms of structural racism leveled at Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.”
As we continue this work together, our team is committed to fighting for policies that ensure students of color feel safe and affirmed in our schools. We know it is our responsibility to advocate for change that supports families of color feeling seen and supported by our schools and the systems that ought to protect us. We will amplify resources for educators to have the support and tools they need to cultivate a culture of antiracism in the classroom.
If you are in search of opportunities to engage, in Washington state, there are resources for how to register for bystander intervention training and report hate incidents available from the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs at capaa.wa.gov. Local organization API Chaya has also invited massage parlor workers in the Seattle area to reach out for any support or resources: “Our helpline number is 1-877-922-4292 and our advocates will be accessible in the languages you speak.” If you have suggestions or questions about how we can and should engage in solidarity, please reply to this email.
When we are silent about racism, we implicitly accept the status quo as normal. We will not be silent - this is not normal, and it is not acceptable. We stand with our Asian-American and Pacific Islander community members as we mourn, grieve, and return again to the work at hand to heal our nation’s wounds together.
The Stand for Children Team
Andrew, Darcelina, Katie, Kia, and Virginia