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Commentary Organizing Social Justice

Commentary: On Solidarity with AAPI Communities

| Wenda Tai |

I’ve spent the last 3 days reaching out to my AAPI friends and family, responding to other non-AAPI friends, doom-scrolling through the news coverage and experiencing a traumatic cycle of emotions – sadness, grief, anger, anxiety and more ANGER.

There were some rays of hope and comfort from AAPI representatives and groups speaking up and educating the public about a history of violence and exclusion deliberately buried and distorted. What has been most upsetting for me is the deafening silence from friends and colleagues and many people in the progressive movement. Some have expressed solidarity, issuing statements and committing to
actions. We need more. Now is the time for a true united front against white supremacy and misogyny, against colonization and divide-and-conquer manipulations by the state. We need respected civil rights groups to speak up, not just the AAJC and the ADL. [Note: since this was written, many groups have put out clear and powerful solidarity messages: Poor People’s Campaign, M4BL, Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative, and the NAACP, among others.]

I heartily support Marion’s suggestions. And I applaud the observations about the racist undertone in Biden’s foreign policy toward China.

For me, the Atlanta murders hit very close to home. Not sure many of you know that I spent my teen years in Atlanta as a new immigrant. My memories of high school bullying, micro-aggressions, invisibility, and invalidation just came flooding back. Yet I am encouraged that this is now out in the open and people (Asians and non-Asians
alike) are confronting this. No more hiding because we’re forced to feel white- adjacent and presumed to have the same level of white privilege (“model minority” myth). No more hiding because we feel we don’t “count” as POC. No more hiding because we still have to deal with inter- and intra-Asian colorism and racism within each of the Asian American communities.
 
“Let’s take this opportunity to build solidarity across communities of color and ensure that AAPI voices are listened to. That we count, and are COUNTED, literally! How many official reports and research papers actually disaggregate AAPI data and statistics to get to the underlying issues and needs, instead of getting lumped together and ignored/dismissed?”

This is what I told my former boss, the director of the largest LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest yesterday and helped him edit a statement. Next, I’m going to work with the largest Community Land Trust in this area to do the same in my capacity as a board member. I hope all of us in the family do the same with the platforms we have and the organizations we work with.
 
Thank you to those who are already on it. Thank you for the thoughtful support and resource sharing. Some of us are starting to keep a tally of who’s done what – not in a negative way – as a document of AAPI movement building to take charge of our lives and futures, avenge the suffering of our ancestors and earn the respect of
future generations, to paraphrase the preamble to the M4BL Reparations Now Toolkit.

One step in many towards healing and restorative justice.

Categories
Organizing Social Justice

Commentary: On the Narratives Around the Atlanta Massacre

| Marion Yuen |

It hurts. We are all grieving.

The most important protection is solidarity by comrades, those who say they are our friends and colleagues.

The most important help at this time is for as many people on as many platforms as possible to insist that the message of the police and the murderer not be normalized.  

We need as many public messages of solidarity as possible and sincere acknowledgment of our talents, contributions & needs as real human individuals and as particular communities.

If there is anything we learned from the Greensboro Massacre, the first 1-2 weeks are critical. In 1979, once the “shootout-by-2 sides” message became established as the “normal” media theme and umbrella, we were forced to fight out of it, often defensively.

I’ve been calling on political allies, elected officials and those who want our votes-talents-help-contribution. This is the time to speak out and BE in solidarity.

Comrades, every bit helps.

As I write this message, the Brooklyn Borough President (who is running for Mayor) just announced a solidarity and support rally on Sunday. 

Our people have been busy organizing.

Categories
Commentary Social Justice

Commentary: On the Atlanta Massacre

| Sally Alvarez |

I want to acknowledge and mourn the horrific violence that happened in Atlanta on Wednesday. Now is also the time to check in with our AAPI family members and let them know we are listening for them. We hear and see you.

The more we learn about this attack, the clearer it becomes that it was an attack cooked in a horrific stew of racism, misogyny and toxic, deranged, religious fundamentalism driven even further aboveground by the racist rhetoric coming out around the pandemic. It reveals a lot about our culture and politics that Americans would rather not face, and it’s only the latest attack in a long and ugly history.

One of the most compelling and transformative elements of our CWP history was its broad reach across racial and national divisions. Many of us have had deep and meaningful relationship with so many people across those divisions that we never would have had without our common journey. This is an example of targeted violence that reverberates with the hatred and racism that also fueled November 3rd.

We must also seek our other ways we can contribute to a response or offer comfort to those in our family who are feeling this the most painfully and deeply.

Below is a powerful video by John Kim at the Advancement Project. I encourage you to view and circulate the clip as we build solidarity with AAPI communities and allies against white supremacy.