March 19, 2021Statement
Over the past year, nearly 3,800 hate incidents against Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (API) peoples have been reported in the United States — and likely many more have gone unreported. UTLA condemns each and every act of hate and stands in and alongside the API community.
There are about 36,840 Asian and Pacific-Islander students in LAUSD, and as educators we recognize that it is our duty to educate, learn from, and also to protect and stand with them in the face of racist, xenophobic, and misogynist hatred.
The hate incidents across the US, ranging from name-calling and shunning to physical assault and murder, have threatened the lives and livelihoods of Asian and Pacific Islanders in our communities. People of Chinese ancestry compose the largest ethnic group that has experienced hate incidents, followed by those of Korean, Vietnamese, and Filipino ancestries. However, we know that historically and presently, anyone perceived as part of the Asian/Asian-American community has been targeted and the numbers are underreported.
This violence only heightened on March 16, 2021, when eight people, six of them Asian/Asian-American women, were killed by a gunman in Atlanta.
We remember and mourn:
- Yong A. Yue, 63 years old
- Hyun J. Grant, 51
- Suncha Kim, 69
- Soon C. Park, 74
- Delaina Ashley Yuan, 33
- Xiaojie Tan, 49
- Daoyou Feng, 44
- Paul Andre Michels, 54
We decry the particular and brutal targeting of both elders and women in the API communities.
UTLA calls attention to the fact that these hate incidents are not random, they are not coincidental; they are part of a history of racism against API peoples here in the US. As educators, it is our responsibility to point to the long arc of racism, misogyny, and violence against API communities. These include the list of immigration exclusion acts such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Immigration Acts of 1917 and 1924, explicitly barring immigration from Asia. It includes the horrific internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the long history of US war and militarism in the Asia-Pacific region — in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Here in Los Angeles, we have a painful Asian-American history of our own. In 1871, a Chinatown massacre took place wherein a racist mob massacred Chinese, Chinese-Americans in Downtown LA.
This long history of racism and violence that has seeped into our media and culture in the form of contemporary, lasting mockery, jokes, slurs, and erasure is the foundation of the violence being experienced by API peoples today.
We point to this history of racism against APIs and also remember their/our legacy of resistance. Asian and Pacific Islanders have resisted racism, violence, and misogyny for centuries in the US. API peoples were important in all anti-war movements, the farmworker movement here in California, and key in the struggles for women’s rights, Ethnic Studies, LGBTQ rights, immigrant justice, labor struggles in hospitals, grocery stores, hotels, and schools, and for radical intersectional organizing across communities and racial groups.
United Teachers Los Angeles echoes calls for justice and an end to hate against Asian/Asian-American and Pacific Islander peoples. We also know that our freedom is contingent on all peoples being free from racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all forms of oppression. We move forward and organize with the principle laid down by the late Yuri Kochiyama that, "We are all part of one another."