Hālāwai condemns the escalating acts of violence and ongoing harassment directed towards Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders and stands in solidarity with the community who is actively engaged in anti-racist action and serving the needs of the most vulnerable members of the AAPI community. The killing of eight people in Atlanta on March 16th, six of whom were women of Asian descent is a recent example in a shameful history of racist and misogynist acts of terror inflicted upon U.S. citizens and residents. In spite of the outcry from the AAPI community and political leaders regarding these events, violent attacks on Asians still continue daily. As a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance and support an inclusive community with shared interests in the culture and future of the people of Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Islands, Hālāwai in part, facilitates the dissemination of cultural and historical information and are sensitive to its accuracy and impact on the perception of Asians and Pacific Islanders in America. The recent escalation of anti-AAPI violence and harassment is not only a matter of individual acts of racism or misogyny. Exclusion acts, restrictions on naturalization, characterization of AAPI women as prostitutes, and the incarceration of innocent Japanese-Americans during World War II in the past have caused systemic harm to members of the Asian and Pacific Islands community in America based on their race and gender. The recent politicization of COVID-19 which included derogatory references to China or Wuhan has further incited anti-AAPI sentiments and has perpetuated the belief that all members of the AAPI community are virus carriers and are somehow to be blamed for the virus. After these statements were made, statistics have shown a significant increase in anti-AAPI violence and harassment incidents.
We express our deepest sympathy to the families of the recent victims and call upon our political, educational, community, law enforcement leaders and cultural practitioners to address this urgent crisis. Hālāwai stands against the racist attacks on members of the AAPI community and all communities that are racially profiled and targeted. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and believe it is important for us to show up for each other and develop greater dialogue to strengthen our relationships and recognize our common humanity.
Below are a few AAPI and BLM resources for further information. It is not an exhaustive list nor has Hālāwai been involved in any of the writing or research but we provide them here for background and guidance.