* Content Warning: Racial violence, death, racist language *
It’s Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month. This is usually one of my favorite months of the year, when I celebrate the rich culture and heritage of my fellow Asian Americans. We were excited to celebrate APAHM here at the Drupal Association, with the elevation of news and resources to support AAPIs in technology.
But we can’t celebrate right now. Right now, it’s important to talk about the hate crimes over the last week and a half. It’s just 2 months after the 1 year anniversary of the attack on Asian women working in spas in Atlanta. This week feels frighteningly similar, with Korean hair salon workers being the target of anti-Asian violence in Dallas. Race- and gender-based violence is well-documented in the United States and has only escalated in the wake of COVID 19.
Dallas is not the only instance of racial violence this month. Within days of each other, an attack on Taiwanese parishioners in Laguna Woods and Black community members at a Buffalo grocery store would follow. Buffalo being the deadliest of the 3, and the only one specifically linked to radical white supremacy. The perpetrators of these crimes are different races but are all driven by racial bigotry. It is also not lost on any of us that the majority of victims of all 3 of these violent attacks are our elders, who are undersupported and under-protected.
This week, Asian and Black Americans are grieving, are frightened, and are exhausted. Racial violence in America is an ever-present threat to our communities and our people. We don’t move through the world separated from this threat. I would ask you to extend patience and grace to your Black and Asian staff this month. But beyond that, I would ask you to extend your support to Black and Asian folks, inside and outside of your workplace. These hate crimes don’t exist in a vacuum, and vicarious trauma is very real. It is debilitating to see people that look like you and the people you love continuously experience racial violence.
The shooter in Buffalo cited his admiration for “East Asians” in their ethnic homogeneity, which may further the division between Black and Asian communities. Asian Americans are an invisible “minority” in the United States and are often pitted against Black Americans. Racial tension between the two racial groups is documented and ultimately displaced. The work to end Anti-Asian and Anti-Black racism is intrinsically intertwined, and we have a beautifully rich history of solidarity that continues today.
I compiled some action steps you and your organization can take to show up for Black and Asian Americans this week and every week. I feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to engage the Drupal community on these events and to not have my voice silenced. I hope you will take some or all of these actions, and share them with your communities:
Check on your Black, Asian-American, and/or Pacific Islander employees to understand how they are doing, especially if they are working from home, and see if they need any support. Then, accommodate their needs even if it’s outside your usual policies.
Continuously unpack your own bias against Black and Asian Americans with active learning and action.
Get involved in the anti-racism movements in your local community.
Understand technology’s role in racial violence.
Join the Ascend Action Agenda
Donate to Resource Council of WNY to provide food and resources for the Buffalo community left without their only grocery store
Donate to the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Korean American Coalition
Support The Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)
Donate to the victims and families affected in Buffalo
Donate to the families affected in Laguna Woods
The Drupal Association will still elevate BIPOC voices, and continuously condemn acts of racist, hatred-driven violence. I will still celebrate APAHM with my community this month, and I hope you will too. I will still show up for Black Americans, Asian Americans, and all marginalized people in my work and in my life, and I hope you will too.
I will also take it slow and allow myself to process and grieve as needed. To my Black and Asian siblings, I hope you will too.
Articles referenced in this blog: