We, the faculty and staff of the department of Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University, are incensed at the murder of 8 people, 6 of whom are Asian American women, in Atlanta, Georgia on March 18th, 2021. Our hearts are with the families of the victims and our communities who are grieving.
Our response reflects on the systems of power that make this violence and loss possible. We name these systems as one step in our work to care for our students, colleagues, families, and communities who are holding immense grief, anger, and anxiety. We are also committed to continuing the work, inside and outside of the academy, to stop the racialized and gendered violence fueled by misogyny, white supremacy, and racial capitalism that led to these murders.
We maintain that these murders are not the result of interpersonal and individualized feelings of “hate.” They are shaped by a long historical arc of U.S. violence against Asians and Asian Americans fueled in part by colonialism and militarism in Asia and the Pacific. Violence against women of color and other forms of racialized misogyny have been foundational to that imperial history. Moreover, in the U.S., there is a long history of dehumanizing and excluding Asian Americans based on the stereotypes of “perpetual foreigners” and “model minorities.” Asian American women face these along with other stereotypes and forms of oppression that specifically hypersexualize and dehumanize them. The violence they face is rooted in the regimes of colonialism, racism, capitalism, and patriarchy that impact all women of color.
Racist misogyny shapes the oppression of Asian American women in care industries, including domestic service and other service work, rendering Asian women “disposable.” Capitalism also shapes this violence, “cheapening” the value of their work. Acknowledging that care work is low-wage and makes women workers vulnerable, we call for the end to policies that deem these women’s lives expendable and demand justice and protection for their work.
We respond to this moment by taking time to reflect on next steps for supporting our students, colleagues and staff, and focusing on resources to stop anti-Asian violence. In doing so, we reject divide-and-conquer tactics that seek to destroy solidarity among communities of color. We adamantly reject the turn to police as a solution, which only strengthens the race, gender, and class violence of the prison industrial complex. Policing has not kept immigrant women safe. We instead direct our energies to resources that counter the forces that have shaped this violence in the first place. Some of the resources we find to be invaluable are below.
San Francisco State University Resources
The Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Services and Associated Students at SFSU held two forums on March 4th and 9th for students to address and respond to anti-Asian violence. Another student forum is scheduled for April 2021. More details here: https://aspire.sfsu.edu.
Those who have encountered bias and racism can report it to the Bias Incident Reporting Team here: https://equity.sfsu.edu/content/bias-incident-education-team-sf-state.
Students who need support can reach out to the Counseling and Psychological Center here: https://psyservs.sfsu.edu.
Organizational Sign-on letters
- Read and sign the Asian massage worker-centered response from Red Canary Song
- Read and sign the community-centered response led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta
Anti-Violence and Bystander Intervention
- Monday 3/29, 12 p.m. PT: Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American Harassment and Xenophobia with Hollaback!
- Don't Be A Bystander: Six Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks, a video production by BCRW and Project NIA
Reporting and Community Safety
Organizations to Support
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta
- Red Canary Song: A Grassroots Collective of Asian and Migrant Sex Workers (NYC and transnational)
- Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network (Toronto)
- Chinese Progressive Association (Bay Area)
- API Equality Northern California (APIENC)
- Asian American Feminist Collective
- National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network
The Department of Race and Resistance Studies