Confronting Gendered Anti-Asian Violence

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 eldersreject 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.

Text reads: 6 Asian women. Means 6 lives. Means 6 origin stories. I have some important questions: What songs did they know by heart? What is their most worn piece of clothing? What did they have for breakfast that morning?  What photos sit on their nightstands? What snacks did they buy as treats? What were they most looking forward to hugging when the pandemic is over? Why is nobody asking?" Drawings of a lamp, a bowl of pens and pencils, a photo, a shirt, a candle, a stuffed animal, snacks, flowers and a bowl of food.
Art by Chanel Miller

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
Photo of a tweet from Julie Ae Kim @julieaekim Text reads: "fighting anti-asian violence is not just about race. as we have seen today, it's also about gender & class. we need to fight racism and misogyny together. we need to have an intersectional feminist analysis.

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

Anti-Violence and Bystander Intervention 


Organizations to Support