In the wake of the Atlanta murders and anti-Asian racism and harassment across our country, Women’s Advocates stands in solidarity with our Asian and Pacific Islander communities, especially women of Asian descent. In the spirit of unity, we share with you here a statement from our sister organization, Asian Women United of Minnesota (AWUM).
In Response to the Atlanta Murders
We at Asian Women United of Minnesota condemn the violent murders that occurred in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. We stand with the families and loved ones of all eight victims, and wish them strength and comfort during this incomprehensible, traumatic, and painful time. We remember and honor the lives of Soon Chung Park (74), Suncha Kim (69), Yong Ae Yue (63), Paul Andre Michels (54), Hyun Jung Grant (51), Xiaojie Tan (49), Daoyou Feng (44), and Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez (33). May each soul rest in peace.
AWUM’s reason for existence is to protect people from gender-based violence. When we hear of an incident such as the one in Atlanta, we see familiar faces. We see the women who have come through our shelter doors, filled with courage and determination. We remember their stories of back-breaking labor; of repeated sexual assault; of deciding whether to run or scream or hide.
When the media construes the Atlanta slaughters as an anomaly, as the unhinged act of a man who was having a “bad day”, it fails to acknowledge that this act must be contextualized within a system of oppression that has existed for centuries. The perpetrator is already being dismissed as a troubled young man who was addicted to sex, whose solution to the uncontrollable temptation of the spa workers was to eliminate them.
At the foundation of this heinous act is the notion that women, particularly Asian women, are interchangeable, replaceable, and expendable. We categorically reject this deadly, materialistic, and dehumanizing perspective – rooted in white supremacy – that perpetually feeds and gives permission to objectify and annihilate human beings at whim.
The crime that occurred in Atlanta is an example of what can happen when misogyny, xenophobia, and racism intersect into a lethal mix, namely, white male body terrorism. No matter if this incident is ultimately classified as a “hate crime,” six of the seven slain women were Asian. From 2019 to 2020, violent attacks on Asian Americans increased an estimated 150 percent. We cannot let this targeted violence become normalized. We cannot become desensitized to it.