Statement on the Mass Shooting of Asian American people in Atlanta
Today, our hearts are with the residents of Atlanta who are reeling from a mass shooting this week where eight people were murdered. Six of these people were Asian American women with names, families, and dreams. We stand in solidarity with these communities and their families and call for an end to hate crimes.
These are the names of the victims. Say their names.
Soon Chung Park
Yong Ae Yue
Hyun Jung Kim
Delaina Ashley Yaun
Paul Andre Michels
Every shooting is a tragedy, but we are especially disturbed to see these senseless murders after a steady rise in violence targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islander people across America. According to this article from the Los Angeles Times, a report by Stop AAPI Hate documented 3,795 racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans from March 2020 through February 2021.
Attacks started in March 2020 when people, including former President Trump, started blaming COVID-19 on China. This racist rhetoric incited people to commit violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander people. Let us be perfectly clear: this is systemic racism and white nationalism in action, and it is the responsibility of white people to repair this.
Chinese and Asian American people helped build Montana’s railroads and communities. They were entrepreneurs, laborers and valued neighbors in places like Butte, Bozeman, Helena, and Virginia City, and unfortunately, they also faced extreme discrimination. That discrimination continues today. We have received reports during the pandemic that our Asian American friends and neighbors have experienced harassment. We stand in solidarity with the victims and all those who have faced anti-Asian hate violence and intimidation.
ALL people in Montana deserve the right to live in safety. We must make it clear that we won’t allow our fellow humans to be labeled and targeted as “other.”
You can support Asian American communities by reaching out to these organizations (shared via The Montana Racial Equity Project). Please report any acts of racism anywhere in the state (graffiti, flyers, violence, etc.) to the Montana Human Rights Network immediately using this link. Information is completely confidential.