Below is a joint letter signed by 25 leaders condemning racist violence and standing in solidarity with Asian American communities.
March 31, 2021
Our nation is hurting following the brazen killings of eight people near Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16. We are still learning all the facts of the case, but we do know that the killer was a white man, and six of the victims were women of Asian descent. As Georgia state Rep. Bee Nguyen said, the shootings appear to be at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia.”
Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims: Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. These victims had full lives that were taken from them suddenly and senselessly. They had families, friends, and communities that loved them and relied upon them.
Senseless and violent crimes like these murders can cause fear and pain in entire communities. Many Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members, particularly Asian American women, are being hit hard by the tragedy of these murders.
The shootings highlight the damage that can come from racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, racism against Asians and Asian Americans became increasingly normalized. Politicians like former President Donald Trump continue to blame the pandemic on Asians and Asian Americans, regularly calling COVID-19 the “China virus” and the “kung flu.”
Words matter, and these racist sentiments have consequences. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that in the 16 largest U.S. cities, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 149 percent between 2019 and 2020, even while hate crimes in general dropped 7 percent during that same period. The organization Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide since the start of the pandemic, according to a recent report, with verbal harassment, shunning, and physical assaults comprising the most reported types of incidents. That likely represents only a fraction of the crimes.
Racism, hate, xenophobia, and gender-based violence are unacceptable. We stand with our Asian American community members. We recognize the pain, trauma, and fear that many are feeling in the aftermath of the Atlanta shootings. And we condemn the racism that has led to acts of hate, including violent attacks, against people of Asian descent.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer
Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan
Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury
Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran
Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal
Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson
Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio
Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps
Metro Council President Lynn Peterson
Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick
Metro Councilor Christine Lewis
Metro Councilor Gerritt Rosenthal
Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González
Metro Councilor Mary Nolan
Metro Councilor Bob Stacey