Asian America is mourning, with more police violence against communities of color and another Asian American mass shooting. Here is the latest news, analysis, and reflections in our sixth 1990 Institute Newsletter. Thanks for your continued financial support and please encourage your friends to subscribe.
Mourning our sisters and elders in another mass shooting
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
I was in the garden Friday afternoon when my friend Joz messaged from California, “Hello, checking in. What’s this about an active shooter near you?”
Luckily, the shooting was on the other side of town and the danger had already passed, but it was sobering.
Only thirty days after the spa shootings in Atlanta where six out of the eight people killed were Korean and Chinese American women (four seniors), we were already mourning another mass shooting impacting our community at the FedEx in Indianapolis. Known to have a 90% Sikh American workforce, at least four out of the eight people killed were Sikh Americans (three women, three seniors).
“I am heartbroken to confirm that my naniji (maternal grandmother), Amarjeet Kaur Johal, is among those killed in the senseless shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis,” Komal Chohan told The Sikh Coalition. “We are still working to identify others who were injured and killed on Thursday night. I have several family members who work at the particular facility and are traumatized. My nani, my family, and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough is enough--our community has been through enough trauma.”
Friends marched last weekend at a Black Lives Matter rally with signs that read, “Asians in Solidarity with Black Lives.” There are so many connections for us as we think about mass shootings, police violence (even children), hate incidents and hate crimes fueled by stereotypes and anti-Asian rhetoric. We cannot afford to only be interested when the victims are our particular racial or ethnic group because the issues are systemic and the target changes.
At this year’s Academy Awards, a record number of actors of color have been nominated for awards. Steven Yeun (Minari) is the the first Asian American ever nominated for best actor (Yul Brynner and Ben Kingsley were not American), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) is the first person of Pakistani descent ever nominated for any acting Oscar, Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari) is the first Korean person ever nominated for any acting Oscar, and Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) is the first woman of color nominated for best director. This year’s Oscars are more than glittery dresses, they are about telling our American stories and being seen.
This is supposed to be a month of celebration — Vaisakh, Holi, Songkran, Ramadan, Lao and Khmer New Year. Instead, we mourn and love (and breathe a momentary sigh of relief at the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict for killing George Floyd). And we keep on marching, educating, legislating, and speaking out for all our communities.
VIDEO: Sikhs reflect on targeted attacks after FedEx shooting | PBS Newshour PBS Senior National Correspondent Amna Nawaz remembers the lives lost in the Indianapolis FedEx shooting and talks with Simran Jeet Singh, senior fellow at the Sikh Coalition, about how the Sikh American community is responding.
How Minneapolis Asian Americans are supporting Black community after Daunte Wright's death | NBC News “The Black community is grieving. The Asian community is grieving. It’s the product of white supremacy, just rippled out from our last leader,” one organizer said.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND ESSAY: Keeping Love Close: Asian and Asian-American Photographers Show What Love Looks Like | New York Times Twenty-eight Asian and Asian American photographers show what love looks like in a time of anti-Asian hate. With an essay by novelist Celeste Ng and an interactive lesson plan.
OPINION: White supremacy is the root of all race-related violence in the US | The Conversation Professor Jennifer Ho on how anti-Asian racism has the same source as anti-Black racism: white supremacy, an ideology or pattern of values and beliefs ingrained in nearly every system and institution in the US. “So when a Black person attacks an Asian person, the encounter is fueled perhaps by racism, but very specifically by white supremacy. White supremacy does not require a white person to perpetuate it.”
INTERVIEW: New YA book details how Vincent Chin's killing galvanized Asian American activism | NBC News Interview with author Paula Yoo about her new YA book, “From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry,” about the 1982 killing of Vincent Chin and the way it changed how a generation of Asian Americans saw themselves.
Illinois House passes bill mandating Asian American history in schools | NBC News “Asian Americans are a part of the American fabric but we are often invisible,” said state representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, a Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.
Senate passes hate crime bill responding to wave of violence against Asian Americans | NBC News
“By passing this bill, the senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Bigotry against one is bigotry against all,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The House Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, considered a similar version of the bill introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., on Wednesday.
Is China really about to invade Taiwan? | Aljazeera Analysts say US military’s warnings about rising threat to Taiwan are more a reflection of the deterioration in the US-China relationship rather than any change on the ground.
The 1990 Institute is proud to join several leading organizations from diverse communities to call for action and change. In response to the alarming increases in anti-Asian bias and hate incidents, this coalition is calling on our elected officials, government agencies, law enforcement, senior executives, and all concerned groups across all ethnicities to fully denounce and act against racism and violence and to collaborate towards a safer and more united America. These organizations all share common concerns and experiences around racism, violence, discrimination, and marginalization and are calling for concrete action. Leaders from these organizations will also participate in ongoing dialogues regarding joint programs, activities, and advocacy to combat anti-AAPI hate: 1990 Institute, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Jewish Committee (AJC), Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), Committee of 100, Council of Korean Americans, NAACP, National Asian/Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), National Urban League, and Partnership with Native Americans.
- Coming to a screen near you later this month: “Call it What it is: Racism Against Asian Americans.” Through no fault of their own, Asian Americans throughout history have been blamed, scapegoated, and ignored. Our compelling video will capture the past and present events affecting bias and racism towards Asians in America and what this community has had to endure as Americans. Let's heal from the past in order to move forward.
- AAPIs shall not remain silent because WE BELONG. The Yellow Whistle is a symbol of self-protection and solidarity in the common fight against historical discrimination and anti-Asian violence. The Yellow Whistle campaign is distributing 50,000 whistles starting this week on National Patriot’s Day (April 19) and throughout Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In nature, yellow is the color of daffodils and sunflowers, signaling the advent of spring and bringing hope, optimism, and enlightenment. In America, yellow has been weaponized against Asians as the color of xenophobia. The Yellow Whistle is a simple gadget with a universal purpose – to signal alarm and call for help – for all Americans. Find out more and get free whistles HERE.
Although nothing can bring back George Floyd, the verdict shows his family, our country, and the world that there was accountability. We remember the life of George Floyd and what was lost as we look forward to true, meaningful reform and move forward to eliminate systemic biases and senseless violence in America. We all have more work to do.
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