Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at CAI have watched with dismay and anger at the escalation of anti-Asian rhetoric and rates of violence against individuals of Asian descent nationwide. On March 16, 2021, a white gunman committed a horrific hate crime, opening fire at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia, leaving eight individuals dead—six of them Asian women. Their names were Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Yaun, and Paul Andre Michels. We are deeply saddened and outraged at this senseless, violent hate crime blatantly fueled by both racism and misogyny.
Anti-Asian racism is not new; it did not start with COVID-19. The string of murders in Atlanta is not an isolated incident and cannot be written off as the pathology of an individual “having a bad day.” For centuries, the U.S. has used Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities as scapegoats and subjects of stereotypes to serve white supremacy. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that restricted Chinese immigration into the United States, to the state-sanctioned surveillance and harassment targeting of the South Asian community post-9/11, and the thousands of reported anti-Asian incidents since March 2020—the AAPI community has always been at the receiving end of hate and violence deeply rooted in white supremacy, colonialism, xenophobia, and misogyny. In order to end this violence, an important first step is to acknowledge and name the issue.
Let us be clear: Gun violence is a public health issue. Misogyny is a public health issue. Systemic racism is a public health issue. As a mission-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of health care and social services delivered to marginalized populations, CAI recognizes the oppression, loss of life and trauma inflicted on minority communities—and how this can have devastating and pervasive impacts. We are committed to implementing solutions so that our anti-racist work is not merely a moment, but building blocks for lasting change.
To start, CAI has made donations to organizations doing work on the ground to address the impact of anti-Asian racism in our communities, including Apicha, Stop AAPI Hate, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. We encourage our partners and allies to do the same.
Next, we at CAI will always stand in solidarity with our AAPI colleagues and listen to their experiences of how anti-Asian violence affects their lives. We stand firm in denouncing the systemic racism, violence, misogyny, and white supremacy that have led us to this point. We commit to using our platform, power, and voice to speak out against these harmful forces and work to create a safer and more equitable world.