A report published by Stop AAPI Hate, referenced in a recent Time Magazine article (Link to article), points out that In the last year there have been close to 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents in the United States. These incidents, which include homicide, verbal harassment, shunning or boycotting of Asian businesses, physical assault, on-line assaults, and civil rights violations, have been disproportionately (68%) directed at women. While Asians are ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse, it appears no Asian ethnic group has been spared from these callous, cowardly acts of injustice; 42.2% reports were filed by Chinese, followed by Koreans (14.8%), Vietnamese (8.5%), and Filipinos (7.9%). These attacks have taken place in businesses, on public streets, in public parks, in schools, on public transit, and on-line.
Asians have long been the target of discrimination and bigotry in this country. Chinese immigrant laborers who came to the United States in the mid-1800s and helped build the western portion of the transcontinental railroad, were despised and discriminated against. In 1871 17 Chinese men were lynched, and dozens more were injured in Los Angeles, CA.. Similar violent attacks took place in San Francisco (1877), and in Wyoming (1885), in which Chinese workers were brutally beaten and/or killed by white mobs. Local and state governments responded by passing restrictive covenants that prohibited the Chinese from owning land, marrying non-Chinese, becoming citizens, and due process in a court of law. The federal government added insult to injury by upholding these covenants, and then in 1882 suspending any further Chinese immigration to the states. Those laws stayed on the books for decades.
When Japanese immigrants arrived on our shores in the early 20th century they were not treated much better. During World War II, Japanese families residing in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington were systematically stripped of their property rights, rounded up and interned in relocation camps. Close to 120,000 Japanese lost their homes, personal belongings, and savings.
Fear, hatred, cultural misunderstandings and scapegoating have all played a part in these acts of wanton violence, and the stripping of rights and privileges. Despite these repeated abuses, Asian Americans have shown resilience and courage. They have fought in the courts and protested in the streets to demand their rights promised and guaranteed in our Constitution.
On March 16th, eight people were shot to death in three different locations near Atlanta, Georgia. Six of those killed were Asian, two were white. All but one were women. A suspect, Robert Aaron Long, was captured and is now in custody. We stand together with the AAPI community in solidarity and decry these wanton acts of violence and discriminatory practices. The 14th Amendment states in part that, …”No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It is time this country honors those promises. Our community demands equal protection and justice for members of the AAPI community.
Dean of Students/ Chair, D.E.I. Task Force