Please read the official statement and demands below. We invite you to sign on and stand with us!
On Friday, March 19th, in light of the Atlanta mass shooting and the past year of ongoing anti-Asian violence, FACE convened AAPI faith leaders to discuss and share ideas with the White House to address the growing anti-Asian violence . Below is our statement and summary of the demands for change. Melissa Rogers , Director of White House Initiative on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Josh Dickson, Deputy Director of White House Initiative on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships were present to hear and respond.
FACE STATEMENT & DEMANDS on Anti-Asian Violence
Faith and Community Empowerment (FACE) is grieved by the events that occurred on Tuesday where Asian American persons were terrorized and murdered. We strongly condemn and stand against violence and hate toward Asian bodies and plead for our leaders to hear us, see us, join the fight against hate and create change. In the last year alone, nearly 4000 hate incidents toward the AAPI community have been reported including physical assault, verbal harassment, and civil rights violations. In the past year, two AAPI men suffering from mental illness were killed by police in a chokehold. In recent events, a Thai elderly man from San Francisco was shoved and killed, a 61-year-old Filipino American man in New York was slashed in the face, and in Oakland several Chinese elderly persons were robbed, killed and/or shoved to the ground. Most recently, a gunman with racist intentions stormed into three separate massage spas and murdered eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent. As an ethnic group that is historically known to not always have the capacity to report (due to language, immigration status and other barriers), we recognize this number of reported incidents is a small fraction compared to the reality that AAPI persons are facing day to day. Though similarly motivated events have occurred throughout history, since the start of Covid-19, these occurrences of brutality and assault have increased astronomically. Former president Trump’s racist rhetoric, such as his insistence on employing the term, “Chinese virus” and his inflammatory hate speech has virally normalized hate violence. Asians have been scapegoated and blamed for the pandemic and these narratives that have been projected throughout the media and especially from the executive levels of government has given license for these heinous acts to occur. FACE also condemns the idea of the Model Minority as an insidious tool to pit the AAPI community against other minority groups. While the Model Minority Myth is a convenient excuse for the majority culture to continue to oppress People of Color, it leaves Asian Americans as victims of invisibility, marginalization and/or demonization. The "model minority" is a myth where Asian Americans are robbed of solidarity with other communities of color and yet are not welcomed to the tables of opportunities that those with privilege have access to. We at FACE condemn the failure of our leadership to protect us as fellow Americans and we denounce the acts of racism that continue to prevail. We stand in support of our fellow Asian Americans who grieve over the senseless deaths they have experienced. We lament alongside them over the fear and anxiety besieging the community and call on our government to ensure the health and safety of every individual. Finally, we call on the Church to stand for the immigrant, just as we stand for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. In addition to our statement condemning hate crimes against the AAPI community, FACE makes the following recommendations to our nation's leaders: Redefine Racism and Hate Crimes The current definition of what constitutes a hate crime is far too narrow and allows many offenders to go free and leave victims without justice. FACE calls our leaders to reevaluate the current systems in place to legally recognize ways that AAPI communities face racism so that AAPI's will receive justice. Higher Penalties on Hate Crimes Along with broadening the definition of a hate crime, violators should receive higher penalties instead of a simple slap on the wrist to discourage future violations. Increase President's & Vice President's Denouncement & Engagement We call on President Biden and Vice President Harris to increase their presence in this space and use their voice and platform to advocate for the AAPI community. This can include attending the funerals of victims, visiting with families of victims and push for policies that prevent and protect individuals from such violence. Be Warry of Xenophobic Language Aggressive language that demonizes Asian countries such as China and North Korea creates repercussions on the greater Asian American population. It also generalizes the political climate over the entire body of each nation as opposed to the failures of their leaders giving license to xenophobia and violence against such perceived individuals. We call for a more thoughtful rhetoric surrounding these groups. More AAPI Representation After much support on the 2020 election, Asian Americans were disappointed by the lack of representation in the president's cabinet. We call on President Biden to increase AAPI representation in other leadership spaces, combatting the idea of Asian Americans being perpetual foreigners. Plan For Protecting AAPI Persons We call our leaders to create a plan to protect Asian Americans from more violent crimes based on their ethnic background as well as protections as they participate in civic activity to protest and advocate for themselves. Plan For Protecting Elderly AAPI Persons Much of the violence toward the AAPI community is specifically targeted at our elderly community who are the most vulnerable and can be the easiest targets because they lack the physical capacity to reach out for help or defend themselves. We call for a plan to provide extra protection from the racial abuse they experience. Include AAPI's in All Racial Equity Initiatives Contrary to model minority myth, Asian Americans are suffering in unemployment, business closures, criminal justice, mental health, discrimination in housing, employment and promotions. Our government needs to include AAPI's in all initiatives, programming, outreach and funding. Recognize AAPI Pain & Discrimination The Model Minority Myth has fed into the belief that Asians are not discriminated by race and thus racism toward our community is not worthy of attention. This falsity is killing lives. We call for a robust understanding of how Asians are discriminated against and racialized in different ways. Highlight/Educate AAPI Contribution Erasure of contributions by Asian American community in history and modern times maintains Asian American invisibility and the state of being a perpetual foreigner. Ensure ethnic history is included in educational curriculums to ensure visibility. Also provide initiatives and funding that alleviate traditional challenges faced by AAPI's from thriving in this country. Stop Deporting Refugees Our government must stop the deportation of thousands of refugees and immigrants who have come to this country to escape war, extreme poverty, and other circumstances that threaten their lives in their home countries. Many have also been incarcerated and served their time and should not be penalized twice. Renewal of the Violence Against Women Act Many women are trafficked or end up in violent marriage arrangements and need protection. At the writing of this statement, supported by President Biden and just passed in the House of Representatives, we urge Senate to act quickly and renew these protections for women.
Please use this form to sign on to our demands for the nation's leaders and to #standwithus against AAPI hate.
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Pictured: Last Friday's call with the Director and Deputy Director, Melisa Rogers and Josh Dickson respectively, of White House Initiative on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to address the growing anti-Asian violence