A statement by AJWS President and CEO, Robert Bank
We are deeply anguished and outraged over Tuesday evening’s horrific attack in Atlanta, Georgia. These senseless shootings that left eight people dead — six of whom were women of Asian descent — are the latest incidents in a series of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), which have skyrocketed in the past year. Racism against Asian Americans is not a new phenomenon, but since the COVID-19 pandemic began, this community has been scapegoated, harassed and attacked across the country.
This brutal crime committed against these six women, their families and this entire community, was motivated by the white supremacist vitriol that has echoed in the highest halls of power and all around our country.
Today, my heart is with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community at large, all members of the AJWS community with AAPI heritage, and all those whose friends and loved ones belong to this community.
Together, we must take up our responsibility to fight against institutionalized racism and bigotry in our own country, even as we fight to advance human rights worldwide.
Let us follow the leadership of AAPI-led organizations and activists, such as Stop AAPI Hate, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Asian American Feminist Collective and so many others, standing behind them today and every day as we strive together for a more just and equitable world.
Let us echo the calls to action of leaders like Representative Judy Chu of California, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who said: “I ask everyone to remember that hurtful words and rhetoric have real life consequences. Please stand up, condemn this violence, and help us #StopAsianHate.”
As an organization inspired by Jewish values that recognize the inherent dignity of every human being, we heed this call. We must speak out against white supremacy and all forms of hatred whenever we see or experience them. Our futures are bound up in one another’s, and we are committed to building and fighting for a world in which all people can live and thrive without the threat of violence.
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