March 19, 2021, New York – In response to Wednesday's killings in Georgia, the Center for Constitutional Rights offers the following statement of solidarity:
We honor the lives and mourn the loss of eight people, including six Asian women, who were targeted and killed in acts of racist and misogynist violence in the metropolitan Atlanta area on Wednesday. We join our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in grief, rage, and righteous resistance to the intolerable reality and legacies of anti-Asian violence in this country. And we commit to dismantling the interlocking oppressive systems that specifically threaten the safety and lives of Asian women, BIPOC, queer, trans and gender nonconforming people, sex workers, immigrants, and those who are economically vulnerable.
Asian and AAPI communities have suffered from rampant violence over this past year, fueled by anti-Asian rhetoric from government and private actors alike. We must also acknowledge that these incidents of violence are not isolated, but rather part of a centuries-long history of racism, criminalization, attempted control, and brutal economic exploitation of Asian and AAPI communities, particularly Asian women. Our political culture and ideologies of white supremacy and misogyny, fueled by brutal military campaigns and our racialized capitalist system, continue to dehumanize our Asian and AAPI communities with devastating consequences.
However, in our calls for justice, we should not rely upon – and therefore strengthen – the punitive architecture and criminalizing narratives that ultimately enable such horrific violence. For over 100 years, counter-terrorism, exclusionary, and espionage laws have been rooted in racial animus, while this country has refused to combat white supremacy. As a result, the reflexive desire to respond to heinous acts like this with "enhanced" tools like domestic terrorism laws or by expanding policing resources to address hate crimes inevitably increases the criminalization and punishment of the most vulnerable communities, while failing to address the structural dangers of white supremacy. Thus, we add our voice to calls by the Asian and AAPI community for accountability that addresses the root causes of violence, and follows the leadership of those most impacted, to define the fullness of what justice requires.
We see and feel the immense pain and fear among our Asian and AAPI staff and partners and our aligned communities arising from this most recent massacre and the persistence of anti-Asian racism and violence – we share our hearts with you in solidarity and love.
Please follow, learn from, and offer material support to the individuals and community organizations defending and promoting the lives and well-being of our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in Atlanta and across the country. Through solidarity, we will not only dismantle the systems that oppress our communities, but together advance our collective pursuit of community safety and healing.
- For those in New York:
o Join us tonight at 6 p.m. in Union Square for a vigil organized by our partner, the Asian American Federation
o On Sunday, March 21, join a rally against hate at 1 p.m. in Columbus Park and a 5K solidarity walk with Black, Brown, and Asian people beginning in Union Square at 10 a.m. and winding through downtown until 5 p.m..
- We were honored to sign on to a powerful statement by Red Canary Song
- We uplift the demands of our partners at the Asian Law Caucus and The Asian American Leaders Table on COVID-19 Racism
- Please read and share the statement and resources compiled by the Barnard Center for Research on Women
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.