The United community is heartbroken and outraged by the recent killings in Atlanta. These hate crimes expose the systemic violence against Asian-Americans, which has continued to grow in the shadow of COVID-19, and against Asian-American women specifically. Additionally, the shootings in Atlanta are a result of a particular prejudice at the intersection of race and gender. The shooter targeted his victims for “providing an outlet for his addiction to sex,” thereby linking Asian/Pacific Islander women with sex and seduction and blaming his victims for his own violent actions. Blaming women for violence directed at them by the hands of men is an age-old manifestation of patriarchal violence. However, the particular association of Asian women with sex work and with Asian-owned spas as sites for sexual ensnarement is deeply tied to Orientalist myths that saturate U.S. media and culture. These gendered and racial tropes fuel the illusory divide between a static (and subordinate) “East” and a static (and dominant) “West,” justifying the exploitation of the former at the hands of the latter. Women are not “asking for it.” The so-called-East is not the spoils of the West.
The dominant voices and institutions in this country have not done enough to name, heal, and stop this growing violence. United as an institution has not done enough. Our values and relationships call us to do better. We have not done enough to listen to and lift up the voices, stories, and truth of Asian-Americans in our community and within the many faith traditions we represent, including the depth of harm done by our complicity with dominant white supremacy culture which gives rise to violence and simultaneously obscures the reality of this pain and separation. We have not done enough to grieve, to feel, to listen.
We invite our own community and those we are in relationship with to grieve now, to witness the new layer of very old wounds being exposed, and commit to healing the separation.
We share the following actions offered by Theater Mu:
- Donate to the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, which advocates for Asian American women's workers and reproductive rights.
- Find other Asian American/Pacific Islander organizations and fundraisers to support at gofundme.com/aapi
- Read the national report regarding Asian American/Pacific Islander hate crimes. Learn how to report a hate crime and how to safely intervene. stopappihate.org
- Join Theater Mu at the next community conversation with the Asian Minnesotan Alliance for Justice.Share with your friends and family.
- Check-in and listen to your Asian American friends and peers.Uplift local Asian American stores, restaurants, and organizations.
— the Committee Advocating for Racial Justice (CARJ) at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities