On Tuesday night, eight people, including six Asian women, were killed at three Atlanta-area spas. Our hearts go out to their families and communities of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Yue. And we grieve with our friends and partners in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who are reeling from the anti-Asian racism, violence, and misogyny sweeping the country.
While anti-Asian racism did not begin with COVID-19, we cannot ignore the alarming rise of anti-Asian hate crimes here in the Bay Area and across the U.S. since the start of the pandemic. For more than a year, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been scapegoated and stereotyped as responsible for the pandemic. The group STOP AAPI Hate in February reported nearly 4,000 hate incidents since March 2020, with women reporting hate incidents twice the rate of men.
The killings also serve as another tragic reminder of the life-threatening consequences that communities of color, and in particular Black, Indigenous, and women of color, face. Among what is most heartbreaking is that the people who lost their lives on Tuesday were simply doing what we all do: show up to work to provide for our families. In the midst of a global pandemic, these women continued to show up to work despite ongoing threats from COVID-19, and in this case, racist and xenophobic attacks.
Women of color continue to disproportionately suffer from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They often put their safety, health, and lives on the line to care for others. We know that more needs to be done to protect workers both in and out of the workplace. Here at the Labor Center, we are committed to fight systemic racism, white supremacy, and gender-based violence to build a vision where everyone feels safe at work and is treated with dignity and respect.
Ken Jacobs, Chair
Brenda Muñoz, Deputy Chair
Danielle Mahones, Director, Leadership Development Program
Annette Bernhardt, Director, Low-Wage Work Program and Future of Work & Workers Program