Dear USES Community,
The unprecedented times we are living through continue to shed light on the racism in our society. Last June, as we were navigating the global pandemic and the world’s awakening to racial injustices in our country, I wrote to our community following the murder of George Floyd. Today, my heart is heavy as we stand in solidarity with our Asian friends after yesterday’s tragic events.
I am saddened, angry, and disturbed to hear of the murders that happened in Atlanta, Georgia, taking the lives of eight people, including 6 Asian American women. My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of those affected by this tragedy: Soon Chung Park, age 74; Hyun Jung Grant, age 51; Suncha Kim, age 69; Yong Yue, age 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33; Paul Andre Michels, age 54; Xiaojie Tan, age 49; Daoyou Feng, age 44; and the loved ones harmed by hate crimes and racism across our country this year.
Racism is not only an issue affecting Black Americans but one deeply rooted in our history, affecting all people of color. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes against Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander communities have risen by 150%, and as much as 1900% according to NYPD data for the first half of 2020. Stop AAPI Hate alone received 3,795 hate incident reports in the past year.
The hate crimes and attacks of the past several weeks remind us of the necessary work of antiracism and the intersectionality of gender, race, and class. Reported cases of racism and hate disproportionately affect women and have been shown to have long-lasting effects on the economic development of communities of color. With a mission to disrupt the cycle of poverty and uplift underserved communities, we feel it is critical to work together to educate and advocate for the safety and equity of all people in our nation.
During the racial reckoning of last summer, we saw our community embrace the ethos of Black Lives Matter, open their hearts and minds to care for one another with greater compassion, and move forward stronger with a dedication to being an antiracist. Now, we must do the same for our Asian families, friends, neighbors, and community members. Hate– of any kind– should never be tolerated, and we at USES stand beside our friends in the AAPI community during this time of fear, loss, and grief.
We unequivocally denounce these acts of hate and stand in solidarity as we fight for equity and justice in our communities.
Please find resources here and here on how to be an ally and join the fight to Stop Anti-Asian Hate.
In partnership and solidarity,
Maicharia Weir Lytle, USES President & CEO
Update April 2021: Watch the full Massachusetts Town Hall on Anti Asian Racism here.