Asian and Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment Votes (APACEvotes) condemns the racist and misogynistic killings of eight massage parlor workers and customers in Atlanta, Georgia that occurred on March 16, 2021.
Six of the victims were Asian women. As a community, we grieve this tragedy and wish unconditional love and healing for the victims and their families. The intersections of race, class and gender cannot be ignored in this incident. We recognize the event to be part of the deeper issue of colonial white supremacy.
We call to action our local, state and national elected officials to openly condemn and recognize the Atlanta murders as anti-Asian hate violence, a byproduct of systemic racism. Sidestepping the issue will only encourage more violence against our Asian communities.
Additionally, we reject all calls to action that suggest increasing police power, presence, and surveillance. Such actions have historically acted as agents of harm toward Black communities, unhoused people, immigrants, and low-income families – the communities that were promised to be protected.
The oppression of Asians who face misogyny is the result of a legacy of orientalism, in which people from Asia (inappropriately named “the Orient”) are viewed as submissive and subservient. Feminine presenting Asians are often hypersexualized in the media, being represented as promiscuous and sexually submissive. This creates harmful narratives with dangerous consequences, ranging from catcalling and online harassment to sexual assault and death.
Many massage parlor workers across the United States are Asian immigrants, who work long hours with low pay to support their children and families. Low-income Asian community members are vulnerable to violence and abuse, but are often unable to seek assistance due to lack of available culturally competent in-language support and safety resources. Society’s devaluation of feminized care work, such as massage work and sex work, exacerbate this struggle. We urge everyone to extend their support to the Asian community, especially massage parlor workers during this time.
We will continue to rise up and empower our communities until all white supremacist and patriarchal institutions are neutralized or erradicated so that they can no longer harm our communities.
Please support local grassroots organizations in their efforts to provide mutual aid and care to the Asian community, especially to organizations who are supporting massage parlor workers.
Grassroots organizations & collectives in Washington to support + their Instagram handles:
Massage Parlor Outreach Project: @mpop_sea
API Chaya: @apichayasea
CID Coalition aka Humbows Not Hotels: @humbows_not_hotels
South King County Mutual Aid: @skc_e_mutual_aid
Green Light Project: @greenlightprojectsea