PROTEC17 stands alongside our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) members and communities to condemn racism in all forms in the wake of rising anti-Asian violence and xenophobia.
While racism against people of Asian descent is not new, several high profile incidents of violence across the United States in March, along with growing anti-Asian sentiment related to the coronavirus, has ignited the Labor Movement and other allies to root out these biases so that our fellow workers, neighbors, and community members can live safely, with dignity, enjoying the same freedoms that many take for granted.
In Washington, the State Labor Council (WSLC) called on all workers to “unite and speak out against any and all acts of racism” against members of our family. The WSLC released a statement and a wealth of anti-racist resources via their daily labor online newspaper, The Stand, amplifying the many community organizations who are leading the way on AAPI issues, such as the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the AAPI Coalition Against Hate and Bias, and more. You can find their list of resources at: https://www.thestand.org/2021/03/labor-condemns-atlanta-shootings-racism/.
Before the high profile incident in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17 where eight workers – including six of Asian descent – were murdered across several massage businesses, the AFL-CIO and APALA had already released a joint statement on March 5 about the increase in violence toward Asian people in the U.S.
In that statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: “The entire labor movement is appalled by the continued rise in anti-Asian racism across the country. Acts of physical violence, yelling of racial slurs and intimidation tactics used against our Asian American friends, family and communities must be called out and stopped.”
After the Atlanta incident, APALA President Monica Thammarath stated: “We grieve for the eight workers who were killed in Atlanta. We take a moment to acknowledge that many of them were the aunties and immigrant women in our communities who face immense barriers to finding work and supporting their
The Oregon AFL-CIO echoed the AFL-CIO and APALA’s sentiments, and amplified ‘Stop AAPI Hate’ on their social media channels.
Launched in March 2020, ‘Stop AAPI Hate’ is a resource and reporting center that tracks incidents of violence, harassment, and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In a year’s time, this organization has become well-known for tracking incidents across the country, and for offering rapid response and resources to people experiencing anti-Asian hate and harrasment.
In their most recent report encompassing data submitted between Mar. 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, nearly 3,800 incidents, ranging from verbal harassment, physical assault, and civil rights violations, were reported via their online reporting feature.
“The recent uptick in violence and harassment in our Asian communities is a disturbing and sad trend in our country, and one that is rooted in centuries of xenophobia,” said Karen Estevenin, PROTEC17 Executive Director. “As a union of workers committed to equity and justice, we cannot stand by while our community suffers.”
There are many things you can do to show your support and to be a better ally when it comes to combatting racism and harassment against the AAPI community, as well as in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. We have created a webpage devoted to sharing racial justice resources. On it, you can find toolkits, links to trainings, and more: protec17.org/racial-justice.
Another community group, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, has also been tracking hate incidents since 2017. They have partnered with the organization Hollaback! to offer bystander trainings to combat anti-Asian harassment. APALA also hosted a series of trainings on racial and immigrant justice for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. You can find links to this information on our racial justice webpage as well.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up a vital part of our workforce and our labor movement, and as a movement, we must take actionable steps to stop harassment, discrimination, and violence against our fellow workers.
“As laid out in our strategic plan, PROTEC17 members have committed to the work of dismantling racism, and we will continue on this path until all of our members can live safe and healthy lives,” said Estevenin.