Move Minnesota Statement of Support and Solidarity with the Asian American Community
Anti-Asian violence needs to stop.
Over the past year and past month especially, the cumulative effects of rising anti-Asian violence and discrimination have taken a toll on our Twin Cities community and on communities around the country.
Hateful speech against Asians and people of Asian descent has been insidious since the start of the pandemic. According to Pew Research, four in ten U.S. adults say there has been an increase in people expressing racist views toward Asians since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Since the beginning of 2021, there’s been an increase in physical assaults on Asian elderly community members in public spaces, and national outcry came to a head when a white man with a gun walked into 3 Asian-owned businesses outside of Atlanta, Georgia and killed 8 people, 6 of them Asian women.
Our thoughts go out to the 8 people whose lives were cut short in the Atlanta shooting: Delaina Ashley Yuan Gonzalez, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Sun Cha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, and Paul Andre Michels.
Of course, it’s not just Georgia. From California to New York, and Ohio to Minnesota, people’s experiences of anti-Asian violence and discrimination have piled up in overwhelming numbers. As CNN recently reported, nearly 3,800 hate incidents targeting Asian Americans were reported to Stop AAPI Hate in the past year alone. Women reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. It’s an issue in all 50 states and in DC. Many of these reported incidents have occurred in businesses and in public spaces including parks, sidewalks, and transit. And, unfortunately, it’s likely there are even more of these incidents that go unreported.
This discrimination hits close to home. Here in the Twin Cities area, Hmong grandfather Tsong Tong Vang recently reported being targeted with anti-Asian hate speech as he walked his 5-year-old grandson to the school bus, and a number of other Asian American residents have faced similarly racist comments in other parts of the metro over the past year.
In response to this discrimination and racism, Asian and Asian American neighbors have expressed fear, outrage, and solidarity at local and national protests. These members of our community are hurting.
Anti-racism is central to Move Minnesota’s values. In service of these values, our team has worked in partnership over many years in the Frogtown and East Side neighborhoods of Saint Paul, which include some of the largest Asian populations in our state. Through this work we have partnered with local families who have biked with us, celebrated their neighborhood with us, welcomed us into their community spaces for important conversations about transportation needs and barriers, and pulled together to get critical light rail stops or a safe street crossing.
In the face of racism and trauma, we certainly don’t have all the answers or solutions. But we know that our Asian neighbors, friends, and colleagues belong. Cities, streets, and public spaces that are more equitable, accessible, and serve the needs of community must include everyone. All spaces, and especially public spaces, should be free from racial discrimination and harassment. Anti-Asian violence must stop.
What can people do?
- Acknowledge that anti-Asian hate didn’t happen overnight. This type of hate toward Asian Americans has resulted in some of America’s most shameful racial discrimination policies, including the Page Act of 1875, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and World War II internment.
- Learn about Asian American history (it’s American history!). Here is one place to start.
- Intervene and report when you notice racist and xenophobic discrimination against Asian people. Look into bystander training so you’re more ready when it happens. Check out some resources here and here.
- Learn more from the national discrimination report put together by Stop AAPI Hate.