The Network/La Red (TNLR) would like to acknowledge the deep pain and grief the shootings in Atlanta on March 16th have caused AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) individuals and communities. Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the victims of this tragedy, AAPI survivors, and AAPI people.
While reports of what happened at Young’s Asian Massage, Gold Spa, and Aromatherapy Spa refuse to name the motive, it is infuriatingly obvious that AAPI communities were targeted and that a white man chose to take the lives of 8 innocent people, 6 of whom were Asian American women. This is an act of misogynist, racist, xenophobic, and white supremacist violence.* Lives were taken because they were AAPI women who were perceived to be sex workers.** AAPI women are hyper sexualized and fetishized, and that violence stems from the stigmatization and oppression of sex workers, the normalization of violence against women, and the history of American imperial wars in Asia.
According to the Stop AAPI Hate National Report, 3,795 hate incidents have been reported, representing only a fraction of the total number since we know incidents are often un-reported. The anti-Chinese (sinophobic) conspiracies of our previous presidential administration and of the media incited hate against AAPI communities, perpetuating a long history of anti-AAPI violence in the United States. For centuries, AAPI communities have been scapegoated and targeted every time there was alarm of disease or economic instability. Violence against AAPI communities continues to increase in our country, emboldened by white supremacy and the systems it inhabits. We must learn and teach about this history to not repeat it.
Despite this history and the continued escalation of hate since the beginning of the pandemic, our country continues to ignore this crisis. As an organization, we have been guilty of this and for that we apologize. TNLR is committed to ending all forms of oppression including anti-AAPI and anti-Black racism. We all have a role in ending anti-AAPI violence, including advocating for increased safety that does not involve increased policing or surveillance, which would inevitably affect Black communities, AAPI immigrants, queer and trans AAPI people, Muslim people, sex workers, and so many more, as well as all those who exist at the intersections of these identities. It is imperative to be in solidarity with all communities that experience racism and oppression. Please inform yourself about the history of Anti-AAPI violence and how you can take action against it in support of AAPI lives.
Learn more with our Stop Anti-AAPI Hate Community Resources page.
Clarification Around Terminology
*We did not use the term “hate crime” to describe the most recent acts of violence because we do not want to perpetuate the idea that we need more police presence and more laws to keep communities safe. This will not work as it harms Black, brown, Muslim, and AAPI communities. We do not need more policing. We need more people, especially white, cisgender, straight people, to wake up and be allies to BIPOC folks, LGBTQ+ folks, and survivors of violence. Therefore, we named this as an act of misogynist, racist, xenophobic, and white supremacist violence.
**According to The Guardian, though it is not yet known whether any of the victims of Tuesday’s shooting were sex workers, the shooter told police that the spas he opened fire on represented a “temptation he wanted to eliminate,” suggesting that he at least believed that they were. We would be remiss if we did not uplift sex workers, and denounce the anti-sex work ideology that white supremacy, misogyny, transphobia, and capitalism perpetuate.