White supremacy is a pandemic. It is a virus designed to attack or terrorize or silence or mutilate, or ultimately kill us. It is the child of racism and the twin cousin of whiteness. White supremacy is a fire that did not start burning with Donald Trump though he fed the fire with his racist and xenophobic rantings. We were all alarmed last year when he began racializing the coronavirus, using a moment when people were scared to plant a seed that was watered and nurtured by him and his supporters over time. Over the past year, we have watched as the violence against the Asian American community has significantly increased and culminated in a brutal mass murder on Tuesday night, with eight people shot, six of them were Asian American women. According to research from Stop AAPI Hate, there were nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents in the past year, including shunning, slurs, and physical attacks. It is of considerable concern that 68% of these attacks have been directed at women.
The National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) holds fast to the belief that oppression and white supremacy are intersectional. We condemn the murderous attack on March 16, 2021, and we stand in solidarity in calling it what it was: a hate crime. It is not an "isolated event," nor was it the result of a "bad day" or a "sexual addiction"; instead, it is part of a growing escalation in violence and harassment against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. At this critical moment, as we are watching folks around the country try to normalize, defend, and explain this targeted attack, we stand ready to raise our voices against the lies; use our pens to write the truth; and, use our collective power to fight for justice and equity, for all. To paraphrase Sister Maya Angelou, the truth is that none of us are safe until all of us are safe. We hold fast to our voices, our work, ourselves, and each other. We will survive these moments that may take our breath away, but, as we firmly believe and will say with our dying breath: They. Will. Never. Take. Our. Tongues.
We cannot be silent at this moment, nor can we allow any one organization or person to stand alone. We add our voice to the growing chorus of organizations and individuals speaking out against what happened on Tuesday and who are now calling on the Department of Justice to classify this brutal killing as a hate crime. We invite you to stop and hold space with us in memory of those who were lost and on behalf of those who feel (like so many of us feel in this country) that their lives do not matter. We invite you to stop and speak their names into the wind, adding them to the long list of names that we have been shouting, whispering, and remembering. We invite you to find ways to heal and to survive, in the spirit of Sister Grace Lee Boggs who reminds us that, "The only way to survive is by taking care of one another." We believe that we do that by standing together, fighting together, and working to dismantle white supremacy together.
The National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA)
Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, President
Executive Council Members
Statement by the Association for Asian Studies
Statement by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
Stop AAPI Hate National Report
Asian American Feminist Collective
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
Black and Asian American Solidarities: A Reading List