Statement of Board President Sonya Thomas and Chief Executive Officer Monica Walters
Dear Wu Yee Community,
Tuesday night, eight people were killed at three separate spas in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the people killed were Asian and all but one were women.
This is one of approximately 3,800 self-reported hate incidents against Asian Americans since March 2020, 68% of them women, and Pacific Islanders.
In national response and news reports, we have seen this senseless violence variously justified, whether by minimizing the cruelty of the perpetrator, or minimizing the losses experienced by the victims, their families, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community at large.
Narratives that diminish the value and gravity of lives lost is unacceptable and intolerable. Reports that justify or empathize with the perpetrator’s intentions and the lack of outrage for the victims’ lives and their impacted families dehumanize low-income immigrants and people of color.
There is no rationale for murder. Further, justifications of violence based on the supposed moral superiority of the perpetrator are divisive. No one has the right to take the lives of others as a means of relieving their own moral discomfort. Moral superiority is weaponized and employed as a form of ammunition for systemic racism and misogyny.
We mourn the loss of lives that is enabled by such a system, and we continue to be concerned for the safety of Asian American and Pacific Islanders across the country as violence toward AAPI escalates.
As we search for answers and solutions to these incredibly complex problems, we must also remember that systemic disinvestment from and criminalization of communities of color weakens the infrastructure for effective community safety, a robust social service safety net, and in-language support. In addition, it devalues the lives and experiences of immigrant communities, Black communities, and other communities of color while heightening xenophobia and divisions among us.
As our country continues awakening to the horrors of its systemic racism, Wu Yee Children’s Services embraces our founding values to stand up, always, for our diverse and resilient communities. We dare to envision a country where people of all ages, backgrounds, genders, and income levels are welcomed to live, work, lay roots and prosper. No one should live in fear on the basis of their age, gender or race. No one should fear going to work in order to make a living. No child should have to grow up fearing the police. Our children need the support of a strong network and resilient community to have the best start possible. Wu Yee condemns all acts of violence which fractures our society and impacts the lives of our children.
This ongoing crisis underscores the need to provide robust and responsive crisis intervention resources, including in-language support for education, mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services. It is time for transformative justice that begins with cross racial dialogue and community-building that address the root causes of violence and hate.
We join in the sentiments of Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, “We are heartbroken by these acts of violence. Six Asian women lost their lives. Now is the time to hold the victims and their families in our hearts and in our light. We’re calling on our allies across all communities to stand with us in grief and solidarity against racist violence in all its forms. When our most vulnerable community members are targeted, we all need to band together.”
We call on allies to stand up with us: together we stand, divided we fall.
With love, solidarity, and action,
President, Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer