After the shootings Tuesday night time within the Atlanta space, I awoke the following morning desirous to know the tales and the names of every of the victims. Delaina Ashley Yaun. Paul Andre Michels. Xiaojie Tan. Daoyou Feng. Quickly Chung Park. Hyun Jung Grant. Suncha Kim. Yong Ae Yue. Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz.
Over the course of the previous yr, we have now been inundated with numbers — the variety of deaths resulting from COVID-19, the variety of coronavirus infections, the variety of victims of racist violence, the variety of jobs misplaced. We should always remember that each quantity represents an individual: a neighbor, a bread winner, a guardian, a buddy. The eight individuals taken from us final week, together with the six Asian ladies, had households, desires, birthdays to rejoice, individuals they cared for and individuals who cared for and about them.
The perpetrator focused Asian companies and took Asian ladies’s lives. Whether or not he believes his actions have been racially motivated is irrelevant. The impression of the crime speaks for itself.
Lengthy-standing narratives in our nation that outline whose lives have worth and whose do not are deeply rooted in white supremacy and misogyny. These tales paint Asian ladies particularly as without end international and to not be trusted, as objects of want or servitude, by no means absolutely belonging or absolutely human.
These tales are our context, the rationale we’re focused by violence within the first place. They decide the foundations that outline what is appropriate and what’s not. Narratives take lives, they form our financial realities, our well being and our security. They permit for the work and contributions of Asian and different ladies of coloration to be perpetually devalued. Once we settle for that ladies of coloration are much less precious or extra disposable, we additionally settle for violence towards them.
As a Chinese language American girl who has organized home employees for greater than 20 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the precariousness of labor for Asian American and Pacific Islander ladies and different ladies of coloration. The circumstances of home work in america are rooted in misogyny and white supremacy. Among the many first home employees have been enslaved Black ladies, with Indigenous, Latinx and AAPI ladies, together with many generations of immigrants, becoming a member of their ranks. The work is among the most vital and quickest rising work in our financial system, and but it’s nonetheless undervalued, unprotected and handled as lower than actual work. Home employees wrestle to outlive on poverty wages, to remain secure and wholesome with out protections and face all types of abuse, unseen by society. The office circumstances for this workforce — almost 2.5 million ladies, principally ladies of coloration — exist not by happenstance however by design.
Final week’s killing spree is simply the newest tragedy amidst a dramatic rise in reported instances of anti-Asian racism, particularly focusing on Asian ladies. In main cities throughout the nation, anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked by 150% in 2020, emboldened by a former president’s insistence on calling the coronavirus the “Chinese language virus” and “kung flu.”
This is also in the context of a public health and economic crises in which female AAPI workers endured devastating conditions and impossible choices. Many AAPI home care aides worked through the dangers of the pandemic, providing an essential lifeline to so many of our elders, earning poverty wages, without health care or paid time off.
Some of them died of COVID-19 exposure. The logic that makes it acceptable to attack an older AAPI woman is the same logic that allows us to keep AAPI women in unsafe jobs, living in poverty without a safety net. All of this while the hierarchy of power — one that relies upon a hierarchical narrative of human value with white men at the top and dehumanizes each racial and ethnic group of women differently — remains in place.
These narratives have on one hand made us targets and on the other hand made us invisible. But they will not define us.
POLICING THE USA:A have a look at race, justice, media
AAPI women have always worked to strengthen our communities, build our power and ensure our voices are heard. Asian female leaders and organizations, such as Stephanie Cho of Asian People Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Aquilina Soriano of the Pilipino Staff Heart, which organizes Filipina care employees, and Sung Yeon Choimorrow of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum are bringing our community together to grieve, organize and heal and support the families who are now mourning the loss of their loved ones.
As we grieve the loss of Yaun, Michels, Tan, Feng, Park, Grant, Kim and Yue, may we also lift up the leadership of the Asian women who continue to work to address racial and gender-based violence and injustice in our communities. And may this moment galvanize us all to say: Enough!
This could be another moment, or it could be the growth of a movement.
A nation where Asian women (along with Black, Latinx and Indigenious women) are safe and valued in their homes, at work and on the streets, is only possible if we commit to building it.