In light of yesterday’s tragedy in Atlanta and the white supremacist anti-Asian violence experienced across our country, we are sharing today’s statement from APALA with all SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members.
We stand with our union siblings in APALA against anti-Asian hate and violence, and call on our community and state and local governments to support the healing, safety and justice our Asian and Asian-American siblings demand.
The Officers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
Diane Sosne, RN, MN, President
Robin Wyss, Secretary-Treasurer
Jane Hopkins, RN, Executive Vice President
Casey Rukeyser, Executive Vice President
Washington, DC – Last night, eight people were murdered at three spas in Georgia, many of whom were Asian and immigrant women that were targeted at their workplaces. These killings happened amidst a global pandemic that has revealed the vulnerability most workers face in America and brought to the forefront anti-Asian racism, both of which are critical to maintaining white supremacy. These murders show how both racism and sexism shapes the specific ways that Asian women experience violence; Asian women are fetishized as sex objects and perceived as deserving of violence. Such dehumanization goes back to more than a century ago when the Page Act of 1875 defined all Asian women as sexually deviant and therefore limited their mobility and freedom. These murders were also driven by the demonization of China, where institutions from all sides are blaming a whole nation of people, and thus all people racialized in the same way, for everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to the resulting failing economy.
Monica Thammarath, President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO stated, “We grieve for the eight workers who were killed in Atlanta. We take a moment to acknowledge that many of them were the aunties and immigrant women in our communities who face immense barriers to finding work and supporting their families. We also should not overlook the fact that these were Asian and Asian American women working in industries with few worker protections and oversight. It is misogyny and white supremacy that both empower white nationalists to acts of violence, and policymakers to exclude workers from protections when they are in industries disproportionately represented by women and immigrants. We will hold the women and their coworkers and their grieving loved ones in our hearts as we continue to fight for our communities.”
Building safety starts in our local communities. Check out the #WeKeepUsSafe: APALA’s Resource Guide on Anti-Asian Violence to learn more about how we can work together in the face of violence. We can learn so much from our Black and brown siblings on how we can build community safety without calling for more systems that perpetuate violence towards women, immigrants, Black people, disabled people, and others in our communities. We echo the calls of our siblings at Advancing Justice Atlanta, “During this time of crisis for our AAPI community, we call on our local and state government to provide robust and responsive crisis intervention resources, including in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services. It is time for Georgia to invest in transformative justice that begins with cross racial dialogue and community-building that address the root causes of violence and hate.”