UNAVSA Statement on Anti-Asian Violence
This statement was originally released on UNAVSA’s social media account on Friday March 19.
As of March 25, 2021, various regional organizations signed onto our statement.
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CW: Harm, Murder, Oppression, Violence
We are grieving and deeply mourning with the communities and families of the workers who were murdered on Tuesday March 16 across multiple massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. We reflect on how the victims are us, our families, our friends — those with refugee and immigrant heritage working in the service industry as manicurists, cosmetologists, hairdressers, and spa workers.
We maintain that true solutions to address the insidious roots of AAPI hate will not be realized by increasing policing, surveillance, or the criminalization and deportation of our community members. We recognize that most of the thousands of reports to Stop AAPI Hate have been about violence against Asian women. Although the gunman claims that the attacks were not racially motivated, we know that this tragedy is not an isolated incident, that we continue to also mourn alongside the families and friends of those targeted by interpersonal violence like Vincent Chin, and state violence such as Angelo Quinto, Breonna Taylor, Christian Hall, and of George Floyd, and countless more.
White supremacy, racism, misogyny, capitalism, and classism enable violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. We are in and hold solidarity with our most marginalized and vulnerable community members, including those targeted by gender based violence. It is imperative that as we continue to process and mourn the lives of those lost, we call our constituency to advocate for those in our communities and center the experiences of women. We must transform the systems and institutions that oppress us and protect the rights of sex workers and personal care workers.
Harm does not happen in a vacuum. Other systems of oppression also enable violence, such as cishet patriarchy, imperialism, sinophobia, racial capitalism, orientalism, xenophobia, and whorephobia. Our hypervisibility as the “Other,” the Oriental, and the yellow peril — and this past year, as the “Kung Flu” and the coronavirus — as Asian people living in the US is predicated upon our invisibility as simultaneously the model minority and as cheap, disposable labor. The interpersonal violence this past year has been towards elderly, immigrants, low income, those read as “Chinese,” specifically East Asian and Southeast Asian people, women, and working class people.
There is a long history of sinophobia in the United States. Asian people are simultaneously the enemy, the scapegoat, the “model minority,” and positioned as a wedge to oppress others. It is a contradicting existence. Whenever the US paints an enemy nation outside of its borders, the people living in the US who are assumed to look and be of that nationality suffer the consequences of both interpersonal and state violence. Other examples include but are not limited to the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Page Act, imperialism in Asia, Japanese incarceration and concentration camps, dropping atomic bombs on Japan, destabilizing and military intervention in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the surveillance of Brown, Muslim and South Asian communities following 9/11, the creation of DHS and ICE, the creation and perpetuation of the Model Minority myth, gentrification and encroachment of Chinatowns and other ethnic enclaves, deportation of Southeast Asian refugees, the criminalization and degradation of sex workers, and the mounting tensions against China. March 16, 2021 was the 53rd anniversary of the Mỹ Lai Massacre, which the US army covered up until it was publicly revealed a year later in 1969. This past Monday, 33 Vietnamese refugees who have called this nation “home” were deported to Vietnam.
Today, we mourn. Tomorrow, we continue to make sure our voices are heard.
The Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations
Mid-Atlantic Union of Vietnamese Student Associations
Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Southeast
Southwest Union of Vietnamese Student Associations
Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Southern Region
United Vietnamese Students’ Association of Eastern Canada
United Vietnamese Student Associations of Northern California
Union of Vietnamese Student Associations Gulf Coast
Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Midwest
Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California
Northwest Vietnamese Student Association
Northeast Union of Vietnamese Student Associations
A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities
Declaration of Support: Justice for Migrant Sex Workers by Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)