By Hazel Trice Edney
The National Action Network, headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, is among 207 organizations that issued the anti-hate statement.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – More than 207 national civil rights organizations have released a unified statement condemning the recent wave of hate crimes against the Asian community; including last week’s massacre in Atlanta where eight people were murdered. Six were women of Asian descent.
The March 23 statement, signed by many Black civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, marks a new precedent for communities of color uniting behind each other during a season of rising race hate crimes.
“White supremacist violence against communities of color continues to escalate, especially in recent years. The deadly shootings in the Atlanta area on March 16 follow an alarming 150 percent increase in violence and harassment against Asians and Asian Americans, with women reporting incidents at twice the rate as men, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is no coincidence that the horrific attack targeted women of color working low-wage jobs, as women of color are the most likely to suffer the consequences of racism, misogyny, and white supremacy,” the statement says.
The statement continues, “The civil and human rights community condemns these misogynistic and racist attacks and is united with our local allies in demanding community-centered responses to better support Asian women and elders, who have been disproportionately impacted by the increase in violence. These responses must include increased culturally informed support for survivors and the broader community; meaningful physical and mental health care access, including for all immigrants; and economic assistance that focuses on those who need it most.”
Among other civil and women’s rights organizations on the list of 207 signatures to the letter are the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the lead organization, which has a diverse membership of 220 national organizations.
Other organizations that signed the statement are African Communities Together; American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Anti-Defamation League; Association of Asian Pacific Community; Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino;
Chinese American Citizens Alliance; National Center for Civil and Human Rights; National Council of Negro Women; National Federation of Filipino American Associations; National Organization for Women; People For the American Way; Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Poverty & Race Research Action Council; Voice of Vietnamese Americans; and YWCA USA.
The statement – without naming names – specifically speaks against politicians who participate in hate speech that has likely led to the increased violence. One example of that might be former President Donald Trump’s calling the Coronavirus the “China virus” among his other descriptions, blaming the Asian community for the pandemic.
“Our leaders must take steps to acknowledge and address the impact of hateful rhetoric, violence, and vitriol that have been directed at Asian Americans, especially over the past year. They must ensure that Asian American communities, including local organizations, have the resources to effectively support people targeted for hate,” the statement says. “When political leaders who seek to deepen divisions and their enablers dehumanize communities of color and sow hatred through rhetoric and policy, they embolden white supremacists to commit horrific violence. This is unacceptable. We must all unite to demand accountability. Hate has no place in our country, and we cannot allow this bigotry to continue unaddressed.”
Among other points made in the statement concerning the danger of the rising hate:
- The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a report on March 1 warning Congress about the rising threat of white supremacists, and in particular, lone offenders.
- Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testified on March 17 that domestic extremism “poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to the homeland today.”
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta and Georgia NAACP issued a collective statement: A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities.
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum issued a call to President Biden for Emergency Safety and Relief for Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities.
Separately, the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, held a press conference March 18, alongside Asian American Leaders, New York Mayoral candidates and “advocates to decry the rise in hate attacks against the Asian Community.”