Society for Prevention Research Statement on Anti-Asian Violence
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Over the past several years, there has been an alarming rise in violent attacks against communities made vulnerable by racist rhetoric and policies, including African American, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and Asian American people.
Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have been increasingly targeted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by disparaging rhetoric peddled by the prior administration. Since March 20, 2020 there have been nearly 4,000 documented racist incidents against AAPI – a 150% increase from prior years.
While these numbers and the recent tragic murder of six Asian women in Atlanta are alarming and upsetting, everyday racism and systematic discrimination are nothing new to the Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities. The Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment during WW II of US citizens of Japanese descent, KKK assaults on Vietnamese fishing communities along the US Gulf Coast, the attacks on South Asian Americans in the aftermath of 9/11, and the fact that many AAPI individuals no longer feel safe walking our city streets are just a few examples.
It would be negligent to discuss the Atlanta murders without noting the intersection of racism with misogyny, gender-based violence, and gun violence. Local and national leaders, as well as the scientific community, must understand the link between these factors to prevent racist and violent incidents. If not, we will continue reacting to these incidents with our response limited to well-meaning, but ultimately meaningless words.