We are Asian Pacific American grassroots organizations with membership that spans low-income working class Asian Pacific American youth, workers, and tenants from Oakland to New Orleans to New York. As Asian Americans, we believe it is important for us to lift our voices in strong support for justice for Trayvon Martin. In the coming months, as many of us prepare to gather in New Orleans to discuss the role of APA communities in racial justice work, we reflect with heavy hearts on the attacks against all communities of color in the US today. We put out this statement because we believe that our liberation is bound with the liberation of Trayvon Martin and with Black communities fighting racism and white supremacy that erases their humanity. We believe Black lives matter and that our community needs to talk about anti-Black racism.
We stand in strong solidarity with Black and Latino communities, and particularly Black and Brown young men, in the days since tragic decision. We share in the heartbreak and loss that so many of us have had to live through as our young people have been killed, jailed, or pushed into the streets.
We understand that the U.S. has been built on a foundation of racism and white supremacy, from indigenous genocide to slavery to the racial profiling of young men of color in urban areas today. We condemn the US criminal justice system that perpetuates violence against our communities and “Stand Your Ground” laws that support this framework of racial profiling and institutional racism. We live in a post 9/11 world, where Muslim and South Asian communities are criminalized, and families are torn apart by a criminal justice system that colludes with immigration enforcement. Our work, as exemplified by CAAAV’s current campaign, seeks to break down these systems:
“In New York City, discriminatory policing practices like stop-and-frisk have criminalized a whole generation of young Black and Brown men. There were nearly 700,000 stop-and-frisks in 2011 alone. It is an injustice that every single day, thousands of people cannot walk down the street without being harassed by the police. Young people have been indoctrinated to know they are being stopped because of what they look like, with no regard to who they are. At CAAAV we know that we have to proactively continue to build across racial lines, to challenge white supremacy, and to call for a world where everyone can walk down the street safely.” From Helena Wong, Executive Director, CAAAV
From Emmett Till and Vincent Chin to Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin, these tragedies remind us that we, as Asian Pacific Americans, must stand together with other communities of color to defeat the systems that allow these deaths to happen. During this time, we hope our communities can lift challenging conversations about Blackness, anti-Black racism, and White supremacy. We hope this will inspire our communities to fight for deeper transformation and the world we want to live in together.
Chanravy Proeung | Executive Director, PrYSM Providence Youth Student Movement
Helena Wong | Executive Director, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Jay Conui | Organizational Director, AYPAL Building API Community Power
Le Tim Ly | Program Director, Chinese Progressive Association – San Francisco
Minh Nguyen | Executive Director, VAYLA New Orleans
Vivian Huang | Campaign and Organizing Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Lucia Lin | Convening Coordinator, Grassroots APIs Rising for Racial Justice
Shane Bernardo | DAY Project as Detroit Asian Youth Project
This statement is also cross-posted at the following websites:
Statement Released on July 19, 2013.
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*This statement has been slightly altered from the original published statement to reflect more views and updates.