We would like to take this moment to acknowledge and honor the victims of last week’s shooting in Atlanta, Georgia. Their names were Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels. Six out of the eight people who were killed were Asian women, adding to the increasing count of anti-Asian hate crimes and fear that has been engulfing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the U.S.
The humanity of these women must be remembered as they are reflective of the varying lives within the Asian American experience. They were beloved mothers, grandmothers, wives, friends, and employees, some who immigrated to the U.S. and who worked hard to fulfill their individual American dreams. Their deaths should not be viewed as another statistic; instead, they should serve as yet another devastating reminder of white supremacy, structural racism, and misogyny that has been playing out against Black, Indigenous, and people of color, particularly women, in the U.S. for centuries.
Building Changes mourns and stands in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We reaffirm our commitment to addressing harm to all Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. Whether we are advocating for more health services for pregnant mothers, working to ensure educational access for students despite their housing status and housing supports for families experiencing homelessness, or providing emergency dollars to help more people during the pandemic, our work would not be possible without the partnership of by/for Black, Indigenous, and people of color organizations in Washington State.
A number of our grantees and advocacy partners are doing incredible work to serve the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in our state, including: Communities of Concern Commission, Filipino Community of Seattle, InterIm Community Development Association, International Community Health Services, Korean Women’s Association, Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington, and The Denise Louie Education Center. We are grateful for their tireless work meeting the unique needs of individuals and communities in the face of a health and racial crisis.
At Building Changes, we need to ask ourselves how we can begin dismantling the deeply rooted structural racism and misogyny in the housing, education, and health systems. As an organization, we must be a more thoughtful partner who leans into the expertise of by/for providers and those with lived experience in every aspect of our work. As individuals, we must continue educating ourselves on the history of harm toward Black, Indigenous, and people of color and learn how we can be an ally who stands against hatred in our communities.
One immediate action many of us have taken is signing up for Hollaback! And Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s free bystander intervention training to stop anti-Asian and xenophobic harassment.
Let this not be another tragedy in history, as it is simply not enough to condemn atrocities against Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. With our partners, funders, cities, states, and communities, we stand together to advocate for, uplift, and invest in building a safe and thriving society for everyone.
— The Staff of Building Changes