WESTAF stands with our colleagues, friends, associates, partners, and constituents in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, particularly Asian and Asian American women, who are facing escalating hatred, xenophobia, and violence in a climate of racial animus and scapegoating across the nation.
We express our condolences to the families of the eight people confirmed to have lost their lives and others who have been affected by the senseless acts of violence in Atlanta—Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Paul Andre Michels, 54, who lost their lives, and Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, who was injured.
Like others across the nation, we are experiencing sorrow, anger, and deep concern about the targeting and assault of AAPI people, particularly women. We acknowledge that this is not a new phenomena, as AAPI communities have endured being targeted, otherized, and attacked over the course of our nation’s history. We also recognize that we must, as an organization and individuals, continue to stand against the ignorance, hate, and violence that has led to a 150% increase in the attacks on AAPI communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
As an organization that advances the arts in the American West and nationally, WESTAF affirms the vital and significant contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to our work and to the cultural fabric of the West and the United States as a whole. We rededicate ourselves to supporting leaders of color, particularly AAPI leaders; investing in organizations led by and primarily serving communities of color, particularly AAPI organizations; and to the crucial work of advancing equity and continuing our journey toward being an antiracist organization.
Drawing on the work of individuals and organizations with whom we partner in our work, here are a few ways that we can educate ourselves about the issues and support those advocating on behalf of AAPI communities in Georgia, our region, and beyond.