In the wake of the deaths of multiple Asian women massage workers in Georgia, we are sending radical love, care, and healing to all of our community members. This latest instance of white supremacist violence is preceded by the events we saw at the Capitol just two months ago, and before that the senseless Christ Church attack and the violent shooting in Oak Creek, in Kansas. Our communities — AAPI communities — are no strangers to massacre. As a survivor-led organization, we have been grieving but we are determined to let this grief push us to action.
We know that AAPI women have suffered the brunt of the anti-Asian violence in the past year. But we also know that this is not new to the US. A country that deports Asian elders, whose history is marked by exclusionary policies towards Asian people and in particular, Asian women, means that we are not surprised. This is why, in our grief, we find resolve. We are resolved to find solutions that don’t expand criminalization and policing. We are resolved to move from concepts like “terrorism” and “hate crime” to naming white supremacy and demanding investments in community-based solutions, starting with AAPI holistic workers. While demanding the defunding of police, this means solutions that protect massage workers by giving them more rights and funding towards their advocacy. Instead of co-opting movements like Say Her Name and Black Lives Matter, we can act in multiracial solidarity and defeat white supremacy alongside Black people. As part of our healing we will learn new ways of building AAPI solidarity that centers the most vulnerable amongst us and allows us to talk openly about our challenges related to caste, class, and immigration status that often get weaponized by white supremacy and those in our communities who benefit from our divisions.
Their senseless murders are the consequence of political leaders who have stoke anti-Asian sentiment as a way to justify aggressive foreign policy towards China. Hate-fueled tropes like “Wuhan virus” and “China virus” mark the resurgence of yellow peril that has always targeted women first. This is why we uplift the work of AAPI women currently working to end patriarchal violence and teach us how to take care of each other. Mia Mingus, Mimi Kim, Emi Koyama, Hyejin Shim, the Asian American Feminist Collective, and Kai Cheng Thom, are all people who have been working to demand better for AAPI women and survivors. We also lift up organizations in Atlanta working to help the community heal, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta.
As we mourn, we must remember these women fully: Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park, Hyeon Jeong Park were holistic workers. They were poor, immigrant women in the South. English may not have been their first language. There are people who love them and who will miss them endlessly.