By Kit Canlas, API Middle TN, Founding Board Chair
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since 8 lives were lost in the Atlanta shootings, 6 of whom were Asian women. One of the nuanced aspects of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) woman's experience is the dehumanizing effects of being hyper-sexualized. This was the basis of the mass murder we saw last year. In the aftermath, API Middle TN saw unprecedented attention from the media and community interest in supporting our work as we sprung into action in response. We urge our community not to reduce this support to a moment in history, but to allow it to be the beginning of a long term partnership and movement.
According to NAPAWF’s recently released “State of Safety” report, “In the last 12 months a staggering 74% of AAPI women report personally experiencing racism and/or discrimination, 38% report experiencing sexual harassment, and 12% report experiencing gender and/or race-based physical violence.” As the country's quickest growing ethnic population, these statistics cannot be ignored. The report continues, “The urgent needs of individuals are often met — if they are met at all — by local community-based organizations. In addition to being trusted messengers, these organizations act as “first responders” delivering services, distributing information, and bridging the gap between individuals and critical government programs administered by complex, often inaccessible bureaucracy.”
During women’s history month, celebrating the contributions and achievements women have made over the course of American history is not enough. We must remember the sacrifices made by women, acknowledge the disproportionate discrimination and violence against women, especially women of color, and continue the work toward a more safe, just, and inclusive society. We ask our community to stand with us in honoring the lives lost in Atlanta last year and recognizing the ongoing hate directed at our community, most recently demonstrated in the murder Christina Yuna Lee in New York and the violent attack on an Asian woman in Yonkers.
As violence and discrimination against Asian Pacific Islanders continues, API Middle TN has both the opportunity and responsibility to serve our community. We need resources and people power to continue the work of progressing our mission of racial justice. If you would like to continue supporting our work, you can make a donation here.