Rest in power Soon Chung Park (74), Hyun Jung Grant (51), Suncha Kim (69), Yong Ae Yue (63), Delaina Ashley Yaun (33), Paul Andre Michels (54), Xiaojie Tan (49), and Daoyou Feng (44).
Worksafe stands in solidarity to mourn the killing of eight Americans, six of them East Asian American women, on March 16th in Atlanta. We echo President Biden’s denunciation of division, hate crimes, and xenophobia against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that has been amplified during the pandemic.

Out here in Oakland where Worksafe is headquartered, Black and Asian communities that have been historically been pitted against one another have come together since the beginning of the pandemic to push back against anti-Black and anti-Asian violence that comes from the same root cause: white supremacy.  

The very fabric of American history is riddled with white supremacist policies and practices that dehumanize AAPI, defining them as “foreigners” in perpetuity and serving to validate anti-Asian hatred. Policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Page Act of 1875, and Executive Order 9066, issued in 1942 to authorize Japanese American internment camps, have served white supremacist policies of exclusion, cultural invisibility, and dehumanization that have erased or minimized Anti-Asian hate crimes such as the Chinese Massacre in Los Angeles (1871), the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting (2012) and the murders of Vincent Chin (Michigan, 1983), Thien Minh Ly (California, 1996), and Balbir Singh Sodhiwas (Arizona, 2001). 

The murders of the six East Asian American women by a killer who terrorized three separate massage parlors happened at the intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny, and xenophobia. Worksafe rejects alternative framings that describe this terrorist act as an “isolated” incident.

AAPI, especially women, have been hypersexualized and fetishized in the media and through policies as far back as the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Page Act of 1875, and anti-miscegenation laws late into the 20th century. These laws acted together to deny AAPI personhood and citizenship. These practices encourage social systems that have served to isolate and disempower AAPI for decades, especially AAPI women, leaving them vulnerable to violence and exploitation. 

This mass murder did not occur in a vacuum. A white man who targets establishments where East Asian Americans work, a white man who murders Black worshippers in a church, a police officer who murders an unarmed Black woman is not just a "bad seed,” they are a part of a system. In the last presidential administration, this system openly sowed division. In the last year, as the pandemic raged, these efforts were directed against Asian Americans with detrimental effects on the AAPI community. 

At least 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been reported since the pandemic began in March 2020. 68% of these reports were directed at women of Asian descent. 

We need to change federal and state policies that perpetuate systemic racism, historic invisibility, and treatment of AAPI as “foreigners.” These include the failure to respect diversity within the AAPI community, to disaggregate critical data collection, to provide language access to government services, and to provide culturally responsive resources and services for AAPI communities. 

Worksafe supports the transformational movement towards ensuring safety and solidarity for all of our communities. We are committed to ending white supremacy, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and racially motivated violence and hatred. We are committed to building cross-racial solidarity.

- Worksaf
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