Our team at the University of Maryland SAFE Center shares in the grief and pain of our colleagues, clients, and community over the brutal shootings of Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Paul Andre Michels, Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Delaina Ashley Yaun last week at three separate spas in North Georgia. We also decry the sharp increase in anti-Asian violence across the US during this past year with the shameless scapegoating of Asians for the Covid-19 pandemic.
This most recent devastating attack targeting the Asian community occurs within the broader context of systemic and historical racism, particularly sexualized racism and stereotypes of Asian women deeply rooted in American society. As members of the anti-human trafficking community, we commit ourselves to listening and lifelong learning, to questioning privilege and addressing all forms of racism forcefully. This includes the sexualized racism that contributes to stereotypes and practices that harm low-wage Asian immigrant women workers in massage businesses.
We also echo Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta in calling for a community-centered response to this most recent crisis, including the provision of robust in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services, and an investment in transformative justice practices that address the root causes of violence and hate. Further, we call for an increase in resources to investigate and prosecute complaints of hate crimes which, like human trafficking, most affect historically marginalized and oppressed communities.
We hold the shooting victims and their families in our hearts.
– The University of Maryland SAFE Center Team