Press Release

AALDEF joins groups criticizing rise in anti-Asian violence and calling for community-based response

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As a national network of local and national Asian American organizations and individuals that convened in the wake of the pandemic a year ago, we have been working together to share best practices and lessons learned from responding to anti-Asian violence.

We are horrified by the continuing acts of violence against members of our Asian American communities across the country, from New York to Oakland’s Chinatown. We stand in solidarity with the survivors, victims, and their families during this challenging moment, when fear accompanies even the most basic daily experiences. We all deserve to live without the threat of violence and to feel safe in our neighborhoods.

True safety for all must come in the form of investment and resources, not punitive measures that create division and reinforce our criminal justice system’s discriminatory structures. Many grassroots Asian American organizations, including some who are part of this network, have worked for decades as part of multiracial efforts to secure such resources for all of our communities.

The recent assaults in the Bay Area and New York come on the heels of over 3,000 acts of documented anti-Asian hate incidents last year with chilling consequences for our community members who fear violence whenever they leave their homes. There are many additional cases that are misclassified, ignored, or unreported. Going to school or the grocery store, getting a COVID-19 vaccine, or simply taking a walk should not be accompanied by fear of injury or death. However, that fear remains the reality for so many of our community members across the nation.

President Biden’s Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States is a welcome step forward to acknowledging the impact of hateful political rhetoric on our communities.

However, much more must be done at the local level and nationally to combat the vitriol unleashed by the prior Administration, that continues to this day.

The solution to violence is not more violence in the form of aggressive and discriminatory law enforcement. Instead, we need interventions and responses that address the root causes of violence and that provide culturally and linguistically sensitive services for survivors, victims, and their families.

We also call for immediate and deep investments in our communities—including access to victims’ compensation funds, language accessibility, and culturally competent mental health services. We need community ambassador programs to accompany vulnerable community members home, bystander intervention training, equitable public school history curricula, cross-racial community and solidarity building, and restorative justice programs.

All sectors must play a role. Political leaders must follow the lead of community leaders in identifying policy solutions. Philanthropy can provide immediate and long-term resources for programs within our communities and partnerships with Black and Indigenous communities. Government agencies, from the Community Relations Service at the Department of Justice to state and local level programs, must prioritize healing and trauma-informed interventions.

Disrupting and dismantling structural inequities and racism will do much more to make us safe than further criminalization and conflict. The community-centered approaches we have shared will help us heal and more genuinely help our neighborhoods and communities become healthier, stronger, and safer.

AAPI-Led or AAPI-Serving Organizations:
18 Million Rising
AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund
AAPIs for Justice San Antonio, TX
Act To Change
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action}
Asian Pacific Islanders Coalition, South Puget Sound (APIC SPS)
APIC-WA, King County Chapter
Asia Pacific Cultural Center
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP)
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
Asian Americans For Equality
Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington State
Asian Community Development Corporation
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Asian Economic Development Association
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Media Access
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Asian Pacific Community Fund
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – South Puget Sound Chapter
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – Spokane Chapter
Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM)
Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council
Asian Solidarity Collective
AYPAL: Building API Community Power
CAIR San Francisco Bay Area
Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Consulting
Chhaya Community Development Corporation
Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
Chinatown Community Land Trust
Chinatown Service Center
Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Chinese American Service League
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chinese-American Planning Council
Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community
Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Dr. Michael Hutchins Impact on Wildlife Fund
East King County APIC
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Equality Labs
Faith and Community Empowerment
Filipinx for Immigrant rights & Racial justice Minnesota
Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM)
Freedom Inc
Grassroots Asians Rising
India Association of Minnesota
India Association of Western Washington
InterIm CDA
Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Japanese American Citizens League
Japanese American Citizens League – Seattle Chapter
Japanese American Citizens League, Twin Cities Chapter
Khmer Girls in Action
Korean American Coalition – Los Angeles
The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP)
Little Tokyo Service Center
Mekong NYC
MPower Change
Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
National Asian Pacific Americans Against Substance Abuse
National CAPACD
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance
OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership in Ohio
Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE)
Pacific Asian Counseling Services
People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
Philippine Study Group of MN (PSGM)
Poligon Education Fund
Raksha, inc
Release MN8
Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment
The Revolutionary Love Project
The SEAD Project
Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation & Development Authority
Seeding Change
Siengkane Lao MN
Sikh Coalition
Snohomish County APIC
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Youth Action
Southeast Asian Community Alliance
TaikoArts Midwest
Thai Community Development Center
Theater Mu
Transforming Generations
Tsuru for Solidarity
United Cambodian Community
Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota

Arab American Association of NY
Arab American Civic Council
Arab American Institute (AAI)
Believers Consulting LLC
Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, California State University, San Bernardino
Color of Change
Cullasaja Synergy Consulting, LLC
East Bay Democratic Socialists of America
Interfaith Alliance
Islamophobia Studies Center
Lambda Legal
Muslim Advocates
Muslim Wellness Foundation
NAACP Hollywood Bureau
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Council of Jewish Women
National Immigration Law Center
National Urban League
Rabbinical Assembly
Secure Justice
SolidarityIs/Building Movement Project
Support Life Foundation
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
United We Dream
White Center Community Development Association

(Updated 2/17 - 11:15am ET)