NOTE: At the end of this letter, we have compiled a list of articles, resources, calls to action, and organizations to support learning, advocacy, affinity spaces and action.
The ongoing violence against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) people across the country is weighing heavily on our team. As some engage in debate about whether individual acts of violence specifically targeting AAPI women and seniors are racially motivated or not, we must continue to focus on what allows this violence to persist: white supremacy.
Our AAPI friends, family and colleagues are exhausted, angry, grieving, and afraid. Indeed, white supremacy is designed to keep people of color feeling exactly this way. It is designed to promote violence and discord — not only between white people and people of color, but within communities of color as well.
One of the most fundamental tools of white supremacy is dehumanization. Dehumanizing practices targeted at the AAPI community are not new: the 1875 Page Act, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the 1940s internment of Japanese Americans, war with and continued occupation of Asian countries, post 9/11 racial profiling of anyone perceived or imagined to be Muslim or Middle Eastern, 2020 racist rhetoric from the previous administration in relation to COVID-19, the long-standing hypersexualization and caricaturization of AAPI people in media and white popular culture.
The persistent dehumanization creates a monolithic “other” that ignores the fundamental humanity of AAPI people. This, in turn, enables and condones violence, which is neither unrelated nor accidental.
Ultimately, all of these dehumanizing practices — and the systems and structures that uphold them — were created and enforced by individual people and their collective actions…and that’s what dismantling white supremacy will take as well.
At a personal level, we need to regularly interrogate how our experiences shape our biases and beliefs. We need to consider the ways in which those biases and beliefs impact how we show up as professionals: how we communicate, build relationships with others, make decisions, and lead.
At an organizational level, we need to consider how we are tracking and interrupting bias and discrimination. Do we acknowledge the ways that the broad AAPI category masks disparities among distinct ethnic groups and even within these groups? In what ways might we silence or deny the humanity of our colleagues through our own instincts, behaviors, and habits? Are we holding space for a colleague’s painful experience or minimizing it? Do we protect and prioritize white comfort and/or norms based in white supremacy culture? In what ways do we hold ourselves, our colleagues, and our leaders accountable for driving forward progress toward anti-racism in our own organizations?
Dismantling white supremacy and replacing it with a liberatory alternative will take disciplined practice every single day, regardless of whether the news cycle reminds us of the urgency.
In solidarity and radical humanity,
There is no shortage of resources or information to learn more and take action. If you are looking for guidance, start by:
- Making a gift, if you can, to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the nation’s largest Asian American legal and civil rights organization, and
- Completing a free bystander intervention training through Hollaback, a global, people-powered movement to end harassment
Below, we have compiled a list of articles, resources, calls to action, and organizations to support learning, advocacy, affinity spaces and action. This list is neither perfect nor complete and we encourage everyone to continue seeking out, accessing, and sharing additional resources.
AAPI first-person experiences
- “We’re both the comfortable and the afflicted”: What gets overlooked when we talk about anti-Asian racism by Alexa Lee (in conversation with Cathy Park Hong)
- A Letter to My Fellow Asian Women Whose Hearts Are Still Breaking by R.O Kwon
AAPI Context, history, and research
- Anti-Asian violence has surged in the US since COVID-19. But it didn’t start there by Maura Hohman
- The long Western legacy of violence against Asian Americans by Jane C. Hu
- Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries by Laura Silver, Kat Devlin, & Christine Huang
- The long history of anti-Asian hate in America, explained by Li Zhou
- AAPI Data
AAPI and Black/Brown solidarity
- The history of tensions — and solidarity — between Black and Asian American communities, explained by Jerusalem Demsas and Rachel Ramirez
- How a Shared Goal to Dismantle White Supremacy Is Fueling Black-Asian Solidarity by Kat Moon
- Amid wave of violence, Asian Americans, Black communities build coalitions by Deepa Shivaram
- Oakland Mayor Blames Crime Wave Against Asians on Defunded Police; Black and Asian Activists Disagree by Katherine Fung
- On Anti-Asian Hate Crimes: Who Is Our Real Enemy? by Michelle Kim
- Black/Asian Solidarity by The Cross Cultural Solidarity History Project
Calls to action
- Stop Asian Hate: Together, We Can Make a Difference on GoFundMe
- Bystander intervention training to stop anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment by Hollaback!
- Amid Multiple Crises, Leaders Urgently Call on Biden Administration to Reestablish and Elevate the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by AAPI Progressive Action
- How to support Asian American colleagues amid the recent wave of anti-Asian violence by Jennifer Liu
National AAPI organizations
- Stop AAPI Hate
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
- 18 Million Rising (18MR)
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
- OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
- National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
- Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership
- Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
- Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
- Laotian American National Alliance
- South Asian Americans Leading Together
- Asian Mental Health Collective
Regional AAPI Organizations
Contact Kiera: firstname.lastname@example.org