Below is a City Council-wide letter condemning both yesterday’s shootings in Atlanta and the recent rise in hate and bias crimes targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
The Portland City Council is disturbed and horrified by the murders of eight people that took place in the Atlanta, Georgia, area on March 16. While police are still investigating these murders, we do know that the shooter was a white man, six of the eight victims were of Asian descent, and all but one of the victims were women. We don’t yet know all the facts of this case, but we do know that the identities of the victims mean that these crimes deeply impact our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S., particularly Asian American women. Crimes like this can make entire communities feel unsafe.
We condemn acts of hate and bias-fueled incidents. This is a moment to reflect on the fact that we have seen a disturbing rise in bias and hate crimes committed against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our city, state, and nationwide. We condemn the racism and hatred that fuels these crimes.
In Portland, we saw at least two bias crimes that involved physical attacks against Asian American residents on public transportation in January 2021. Asian-owned businesses in the Jade District and on 82nd Avenue have seen an increase in vandalism in recent months. Nationwide, nearly 3,800 hate incidents against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders were reported this past year, according to the organization Stop AAPI Hate. And, we’ve seen politicians, including former President Donald Trump, use hateful and racist language targeting Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic. Words matter, and the use of hateful language and slurs can fuel racist ideologies.
We stand with our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and condemn all activities motivated by hate, bias, and racism, and we are here to support you.
Mayor Ted Wheeler
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
Commissioner Mingus Mapps
Commissioner Carmen Rubio
Commissioner Dan Ryan