We at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington offer our solidarity, compassion, and commitment to our Asian friends and neighbors in the wake of the bigoted, misogynistic attack in Atlanta. The acts of violence toward our Asian community members are appalling, and the targeted attacks against Asian elders and women highlight dangerous, intersectional discriminations against whole segments of our society. The NARAL Pro-Choice Washington team re-commits to organizing for the safety and well-being of AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Americans and immigrants.
It has taken us time to find our words around the xenophobic and misogynistic violence in the past few weeks. In the meantime, yet another young man has killed ten people in Colorado. By the time we process and respond to one violent attack, we face yet another. This is an epidemic of violence.
On March 16th, actions fueled by misogyny, White supremacy, sexualization of Asian women, anti-Asian rhetoric from high-level leaders, and this country’s value of gun-rights over human-rights, led to yet another heartbreaking tragedy. People with families, friends, and communities lost their lives because of this complex system of hate. We ALL have a responsibility not just to call out misogyny, bigotry, and racism, but to change how we show up every day to prevent such violence.
Workers from all backgrounds – including those in the service industry – deserve agency over their bodies and deserve safety, dignity, respect, and legal protection at their jobs. Asian-American women working in the service industry face a disproportionate amount of racism, sexism, and violence in the workplace. When we strengthen workers’ rights, we also create an equitable workplace for Asian-American women who experience more discrimination and violence than their White counterparts.
AAPI organizations and activists have found a disturbing pattern of anti-Asian violence and recorded more than 3,800 instances of harassment and assault in the past 12 months alone1. Trump and White nationalist groups have scapegoated AAPI community members for our nation’s failures in the COVID-19 pandemic response, leading to a 150% increase in reported hate crimes against Asian-Americans this past year. However, violence against AAPI communities did not begin with the pandemic.
Specifically, Asian-American women have been the target of anti-choice groups with the language of sex-selective abortion bans. Anti-choice groups falsely claim that sex-selective abortion bans are necessary to prevent abortion based on the gender of the fetus2. Racist notions that Asian-Americans prefer male children over female children are why anti-choice groups promote these racially charged abortion bans. Sex-selective abortion bans lead to further questioning and stigmatization of AAPI women’s decisions to have an abortion, restricting their ability to access care and assert agency over their bodies3.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington echoes and elevates community members and activists across the nation, denouncing the growing trend of violence against Asian-Americans and immigrants. We are committed to using our voice to denounce hate, organize for increased community resources, fight for worker protections, and support community-led responses to ensuring the safety and well-being of those most impacted by this White violence.