We are deeply saddened that so many of our fellow American citizens of color are suffering so greatly from centuries-old and modern-day injustices. Covid19 seems to have peeled back layers of injustice that many millions of mostly white Americans have chosen not to fully see, until recently. Here’s the thing—the work of building solidarity is actually up to those of us who identify as white and who are not people of color. It’s time for us to take responsibility for doing the personal inner work and collective outer work, led by and in solidarity with communities of color, including Asian-American, African-American, Latinx & Indigenous, to bring about the equality and justice so needed in our nation.
Rates of Hate Crimes Have Increased
Major US cities have seen triple-digit percentage increases in hate crimes directed at Asian-Americans since the beginning of the pandemic, according to new data fromStop AAPI Hate. Here in the Bay Area, there have been more than 700 reported attacks on people of Asian descent, including the targeting elderly people. The rise in anti-Asian sentiment has caused deep pain, anxiety and even death to our fellow Americans and is due, in part, to current rhetoric and racial slurs used by elected officials against Asian nations during the pandemic and a legacy of institutional racism.
At Strictly Topical we repudiate this rise in hate and stand in solidarity with Asian-American communities, as well as Black, Indigenous and People of Color, in the face of bigotry and violence.
Following the lead of our local chapter of the national organization Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) we are learning new ways of engaging, educating ourselves about the history not taught in America’s public schools and taking the action that is necessary for these times. We are trying, humbly, to do the work. To educate ourselves. To admit where we’ve come up short. To be in action. Part of this effort is not staying silent. We invite members of the Sweet Releaf community to join us in advocating for collective action to end all forms of racism. Together, we can and will create a more just and equitable world where we can all be safe. Here are a few things we’re learning about and think worthy of sharing with our larger Sweet Releaf community.
Learning About Our Anti-Asian History
We are educating ourselves by reading a lot and digging deeper into the history of discrimination against Asian communities in America. We are learning about how government-sanctioned laws and anti-Chinese expulsions restricted Asian-American immigration, education, jobs, visibility, wealth, rights and perpetuated false narratives and stereotypes. This includes the “cheap” labor of Chinese immigrants, both in pay and lives lost, during the construction of the Continental Railroad in the 1860s, the Chinese Expulsion Act of 1882, as well as the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. Through our work with SURJ, we are working to stay informed and amplify issues related to all forms of violence against Asian and Asian American communities while retaining focus on the Movement For Black Lives.
The bottom line is this: We must work to keep each other safe and change the status quo from the ground up. For us, this means turning inward and figuring out where to be of service in the world. For others it might mean reaching out to an elderly neighbor, reading authors of color, marching in the streets, listening to podcasts, donating money, signing petitions, volunteering with advocacy and community organizations, supporting local businesses by shopping in San Francisco’s Chinatown or taking bystander intervention training. It could mean all of these things. Whatever it is, it cannot be silence. Because the movement forward truly depends on taking the steps necessary to make our shared human decency a reality where everyone can thrive together.
Organizations to Support
- Stand with Asian Americans (national organization)
- Asian American Alliance of Marin (local in Marin)
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (national organization)
- Stop AAPI Hate (social justice)
- Hollaback! Bystander Intervention Training (social justice and bystander intervention)
- SURJ (national organization)
- Asians must be a part of our story, too by John A. Powell, Othering & Belonging Institute
- The history of tensions — and solidarity — between Black and Asian American communities, explained, by Jerusalem Demsas and Rachel Ramirez, Vox
- Video: Interviews on the model minority myth with Jennifer Ho and Frank H. Wu
- Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are on the Rise. Many Say More Policing Isn’t the Answer, by Cady Lang, Time Magazine