We are a society built on the premise of freedom and the reality of racism; ingenuity realized at the cost of freedom and through the labor of Blacks, Asians, immigrants, Native Americans, Latinx and countless others.
As we recognize the horrific events that took place in Atlanta, GA last month, and the terror and trauma that has been inflicted on the AAPI community with an egregious uptick in anti-Asian violence, we must also recognize the death of another unarmed Black man, Daunte Wright, this past weekend. Instead of letting this latest violence distract us from uplifting our AAPI community, we must remember that the center of both of these things is white supremacy, and our intentionality in stamping out that scourge.
Our BIPOC community has contributed so much to our country and in this time of anti-Asian hate we must stand up, make change and say no more. We recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history is our history, that AAPI dreams are our dreams and that AAPI struggles are our struggles.
Asian American and Pacific Islanders are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, aunties, and elders. ARTS stands in solidarity with our AAPI staff to create a better city, celebrate our diversity, honor our ancestors and support our AAPI community.
We are taking this time to amplifying the words of our AAPI staff below:
We demand our colleagues commit to interrupting and dismantling the structures and culture of institutional silence, neglect and dismissal, and implore you to denounce anti-Asian violence and sentiment in the strongest possible terms.
History has shown us repeatedly that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are targeted scapegoats particularly in times of national crisis.
Our elders are being viciously attacked on the streets during the pandemic while onlookers turn their backs and shut the door to their plea for help. Seven women, of whom six are of Asian heritage, were gunned down in Atlanta.
This is not the first or the last we have seen of Asians being scapegoated for economic downturns and job losses, disease, our loyalty questioned, being perceived as forever foreigners, our presence deemed as yellow peril invasion, our women being exoticized by orientalist fantasies, and our monolithic portrayal as model minorities. We know that such portrayals are used to pit us against our fellow Black and Brown communities and are an ongoing manifestation of white supremacy culture.
Invest in and support cultural organizations that have a proven history of ANTI-Racism, including but not limited to:
- Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS)
- API Chaya
- CID Coalition
- Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington
- Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together (FIGHT)
Bolster the work of the following organizations and many others as it relates to healing, public safety, and community social cohesion through the arts:
Support emergent, mid-career, and established art-ivists who are already doing the work of protecting their communities from displacement, gentrification, and now violence at the doorsteps of their communities.
Silence and inaction continue the legacy of racism. If you are interested in ways you can make a difference, consider taking the following actions:
- Take Bystander Training at Hollaback!
- Organize with AAPI arts workers against white supremacy at Stop DiscriminAsian ·
- Combat hate and bias by reporting crimes at United Alliance Against Hate
The Office of Arts & Culture is working towards addressing these essential needs. We invite you to join us in making our city inclusive and welcoming to all, and dismantling the systems that seek to divide us, and distract from the root cause of white supremacy.