Boston Impact Initiative condemns the racially motivated murders in Atlanta on March 16th. This act is another case of the uniquely American plague of mass shootings, which tragically occurred again just days later in Boulder. But the Atlanta attack was a mass shooting mixed with white supremacy – something that we also witnessed in Charleston in 2015, Pittsburgh in 2018, and El Paso in 2019. We stand with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their grief, and we lift up the experiences of women, for whom this violence is appalling yet its misogynist roots are familiar. For the AAPI community, this is another horrific incident in a long history of being targeted, excluded, and scapegoated in this country.
For me, I feel a personal connection with the AAPI community. My grandmother, Fredisvinda, came to the U.S. from the Philippines as a war bride in 1951. The U.S. held the Philippines as a colony from 1898 to 1946 and maintained an enormous naval base there until 1992. My American grandfather was in the U.S. Navy during WWII, stationed at Subic Bay.
When my grandparents moved back to the States with their daughters, they settled in Pennsylvania and my grandmother made her new home despite being faced with anti-Asian sentiment. This harassment ranged from neighbors protesting when my grandparents purchased their house to people yelling “Die, Japs!” and making machine-gun noises when my grandmother was out with her daughters. But my grandmother loved the U.S. She was the first in her family to emigrate and she encouraged many Filipino relatives to become U.S. citizens by serving in the U.S. Navy.
I am sharing this personal story to say that the people who were murdered on March 16th, most of them Asian-American women, each had their own story. And like my grandmother, many were striving for a decent life despite the anti-Asian harassment and violence perpetuated by their neighbors and the government.
At BII, we are standing in solidarity with the AAPI community in the Boston area, which has suffered harassment, economic hardship, and lack of access to capital, especially in the last year. Here are some organizations that are doing exceptional work in Eastern MA. Please join us in supporting them.