We mourn the loss of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Paul Andre Michels, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. Our hearts are with the families and communities of the eight people, six of whom were Asian and seven of whom were women, murdered in a shooting spree across three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia Tuesday night. Please join us in donating to support the families of those killed. We are appalled and outraged by this deadly white supremacist violence and the context of rising anti-Asian violence in which this attack occurred.
We invite you to join us in supporting the calls for a response by signing onto these three letters that center Asian American women and elders, reject increased police presence in Asian communities and invests in long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and center the voices of Asian massage parlor workers calling for support for their labor rights and the decriminalization of sex work. You can find more resources and action items at the bottom of this email.
Fueled by politicians’ racist scapegoating of Asians during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian violence since March 2020, with 68% of those attacked being women. While the rise in anti-Asian violence can be seen in the numbers, we also know that the vast majority of attacks are never reported.
Behind the rise in gendered anti-Asian violence during the pandemic lie hundreds of years of white supremacist violence against Asian women. The murders of massage parlor workers in Atlanta occurs within the context of centuries of white men’s sexualized violence against Asian women, including sexual and gender-based violence endemic to US wars and occupation, racist labor laws, the fetishization of Asian women, the criminalization of migration, and the gendered white supremacist violence of policing broadly.
We must call this attack what it is: white supremacy, anti-Asian racism, racialized misogyny, sexual violence, and whorephobia (regardless of whether the women were engaged in the sex trade or identified as sex workers).
The women who were killed faced specific racialized gendered violence for being Asian women and massage workers. Whether or not they were actually sex workers or self-identified under that label, we know that as massage workers, they were subjected to sexualized violence stemming from the hatred of sex workers, Asian women, working class people, and immigrants.-Red Canary Song, Radical Healing from State and Community Violence: Mourning with Asian Massage Workers in the Americas
In the context of centuries of anti-Asian violence rooted in gendered racial capitalism, we must resist any calls for increased policing. The answer to anti-Asian racism is not more policing.
Policing has never been an effective response to violence because the police are agents of white supremacy. Policing has never kept sex workers or massage workers or immigrants safe. The criminalization and demonization of sex work has hurt and killed countless people–many at the hands of the police both directly and indirectly. Due to sexist racialized perceptions of Asian women, especially those engaged in vulnerable, low-wage work, Asian massage workers are harmed by the criminalization of sex work, regardless of whether they engage in it themselves.-Red Canary Song, Radical Healing from State and Community Violence: Mourning with Asian Massage Workers in the Americas
With love, rage and solidarity, we commit to continuing to fight for a world that honors the lives and dignity of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander women, sex workers and other marginalized and criminalized workers, immigrants, the undocumented, and all who are targeted with sexist and white supremacist violence.
Organizational Sign-on letters
- Read and sign the Asian massage worker-centered response from Red Canary Song
- Read and sign the community-centered response led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta
Anti-Violence and Bystander Intervention
- Monday 3/29, 12 p.m. PT: Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American Harassment and Xenophobia with Hollaback!
- Don’t Be A Bystander: Six Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks, a video production by BCRW and Project NIA
- TODAY, Friday 3/19, 4 p.m. PT: Vigil for the Eight Victims of Anti-Asian and Misogynistic Hate, streaming live on the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Georgia Chapter Facebook page.
- Tuesday 3/23, 3 p.m. PT: Anti-Asian Violence and Black-Asian Solidarity Today, a lecture by Tamara K. Nopper, presented by Asian American Writers Workshop
Organizations to Support
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta
- Red Canary Song: A Grassroots Collective of Asian and Migrant Sex Workers (NYC and transnational)
- Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network (Toronto)
- Chinese Progressive Association (Bay Area)
- API Equality Northern California (APIENC)
- Asian American Feminist Collective
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
- Stop AAPI Hate