Last week, eight people were murdered, six of whom were Asian women. We grieve for the victims, their families and communities, and to all who are impacted by this horrific attack, especially Georgia’s Asian American community and our own. 

This heartbreaking tragedy comes after a year of escalating violence and animosity against Asian Americans, particularly Asian women, during the pandemic. In fact, Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate recently released a report detailing nearly 3,800 incidents against AAPI identifying people and businesses over the past year.

However, the United States has a long, unsettling history of anti-Asian scapegoating, racism and violence. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which was the first and only law implemented to target all members of a particular ethnic group from immigrating, to the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, and the brutal murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 that spawned the Asian American civil rights movement, our nation has a shameful legacy of “othering” people of color. For Asian Americans in particular, this often manifests as always being seen as “foreigners,” even though AAPI people have been living in Georgia, Alabama, and the United States for generations now. 

Until we address this legacy, this cyclical pattern of anti-Asian prejudice, hate, and violence will continue. The ACLU of Alabama calls on our regional, state, and federal elected officials to immediately and publicly condemn these anti-Asian attacks, and to commit to actively working with affected communities and their leaders to identify and implement approaches to curtail racial intolerance, discrimination, disparities, and violence. And we call on our region’s diverse communities to unite in solidarity against all forms of bigotry and hate. 

For other organizations supporting AAPI communities in Alabama, please visit AshaKiran, Alabama-Korea Education and Economic Partnership, Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation, and UAB’s Institute for Human Rights