On Tuesday, a man killed eight people in Georgia. Six of the victims were Asian women, a fact which places these murders in the context of growing anti-Asian racist violence in the United States. We at Atlanta Roller Derby stand in solidarity with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community and mourn the victims of this crime.
White supremacist violence against Asian-American and Pacific Islander women has a long history in the United States. This violence encompasses, for example, the Page Act of 1875, which barred East Asian women from immigrating into the US as well as the widespread sexual assault of South Asian women during the 19th and 20th century US imperialist efforts in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.
In recent years, anti-Asian rhetoric from the US government correlates with an increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the US. Research from the organization Stop AAPI Hate shows that 68% of anti-Asian hate crimes in the past year were perpetrated against women.
Some media outlets are reporting that the victims may have been targeted because the shooter believed they were sex workers. Violence against sex workers is an insidious problem in the United States and is often facilitated by policies that criminalize sex work. We don’t know if the victims of this particular shooting were sex workers. Regardless, ARD stands in solidarity with sex workers, who deserve safety and respect.
Some of Tuesday’s shootings happened in Atlanta, a few miles away from where ARD hosts roller derby games. Though we don’t yet know the names of the Atlanta victims, we do know that they were a part of the city that many of us call home. This tragedy feels close and personal to ARD. Still, anti-Asian racism is a nationwide problem; violence like this can and does happen everywhere.
To our Asian-American league members, fans, and neighbors: we hope to make our league a place where you feel safe, welcome, and celebrated. We hope to help make our country a place where white supremacy is unimaginable.
This is a call to action, especially to the white members of our ARD community. Consider supporting Asian-American advocacy organizations such as those listed in this thread. Some Atlanta activist organizations are organizing solidarity marches, learn more here and here.