The Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance) is outraged and saddened by the tragic murders of 8 members of the Atlanta community late Tuesday evening, the majority of whom were Asian American. These tragic murders are the most recent in a year of increased, hate-fueled violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) both here in California and across the nation. We strongly denounce racism, violence and hate crimes against our AAPI community members here in Southern California and across the nation.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans reported in major US cities spiked by 150% over the past year. According to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that works to track and respond to hate, violence and discrimination against AAPIs in the United States, from March 19, 2020, until February 28 of this year, they received reports of 3,795 "hate incidents" against the Asian American community. This is likely an undercount due to individuals not wanting to or feeling fearful of reporting incidents. In response to early reports of verbal and physical assaults against members of our AAPI communities, the Alliance responded with a rapid response resource for local health departments to address anti-AAPI discrimination and racism in the pandemic response.
Violence against AAPI community members and members of our Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities throughout our country is not new. Undergirding these violent attacks are racism, discrimination, and xenophobia, which has fueled the flames of divisive policies and hate since our nation’s inception. The racist rhetoric used to target and scapegoat our AAPI community members throughout this pandemic has been a manifestation of that history.
Attacks on members of our AAPI community threaten the health and safety of all members of our community. The Public Health Alliance stands in solidarity with our AAPI staff, colleagues, health department members and community members. We strongly condemn the racism, hate and violence being perpetrated against our Asian American and Pacific Islander community members.
We must recognize that racism—individual, institutional and systemic—is truly a public health crisis. We will continue to work in partnership with all of you to develop strategies to address and dismantle the racism that is fueling these attacks as we work to build a more just, equitable, and healthy Southern California for all!n
For more information and resources on supporting the AAPI community and working to stop anti-AAPI hate during this time, please see the “Act Now” page on “Stop AAPI Hate”.