This essay was originally posted on Medium, and is republished here at the request of the authors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a new surge in violence against Asian communities across the world. Several high-profile instances of anti-Asian racist violence—spurred on by casually racist remarks at every level of government, business, and popular culture—have created a terrorizing climate for many. In San Francisco Chinatown for example, overt xenophobia, combined with the economic impact of shelter-in-place orders, has left immigrants, elders, limited English-speaking people, and poor folks feeling like targets. In San Francisco, where a staggeringly disproportionate 50% of the COVID-19 mortalities are from the Asian and Pacific Islander community, the pandemic has ushered in multiple violences. This has been further exacerbated by pre-existing crises: gentrification, displacement, homelessness, police terror, inequities in education, a drastic uptick in deportations, antagonism against trans and queer people, poverty, and exploitation.
We must recognize that the scapegoating of Asians as the harbingers of disease and the state violence against Black people (via systemic policing and state response to the pandemic) are two sides of the same coin. This system of oppression is what indicates whether we live or die. This moment makes it even clearer that we must radicalize our communities for cross-racial solidarity.
GAPIMNY condemns the murder of George Floyd and stands in unyielding solidarity with the Minneapolis protesters who rise up in his memory. We also join those who argue that Floyd’s murderer, officer Derek Chauvin, is not just one bad cop in an otherwise redeemable system of policing, but further proof—like Darren Wilson, Daniel Pantaleo, Peter Liang and others before him—that the institution of policing in the United States is irredeemably anti-black and must be abolished.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Black community is calling for a boycott of Missha Beauty after the owner Sung Ho Lim and another female employee were caught on cellphone video physically assaulting an unidentified female customer, who appears Black. Both Lim and the unidentified female employee appear to be Asian American.
The confrontation apparently began when store employees accused the unidentified customer of shoplifting. However, the customer is heard in unedited videotape footage immediately denying the charge, and inviting employees to check her purse. Less than a minute later, Lim and the other store employee again confronted the customer which devolved into a shoving match. Lim then escalated the confrontation by shoving the customer in the throat, kicking her multiple times, and eventually placing her in a chokehold — a potentially life-threatening maneuver — while the customer pleads for him to get off of her. Indeed, eyewitnesses say that the customer was gasping for air while Lim was on top of her. Reports The Root:
“When he was choking her, he was almost choking her to death. She was gasping for breath, and he was continually choking her,” Teresa Mosely, a customer who buys from Missha Beauty three times a week but says that she won’t continue doing so, told the news station.
July 6th 2016: At work, I check Facebook, my newsfeed is flooded with images of the gruesome murder of yet another member of the black community, Alton Sterling. Later that night, I stumble across the video of Philando Castile’s death. 2 black bodies stained with red blood in the span of 24 hours.
When these attacks happen, I can’t help but think of my black and brown family members and their safety so I made a few phone calls inquiring on the safety of my family. The safety of my disabled and vulnerable uncle, the safety of my visibly Muslim parents, brothers, and sister, and the safety of my cousins who are both black and Muslim. Two targeted identities in today’s world.
These phone calls are now a part of my daily routine. I can’t help but fear for my family members. I live in daily fear that we will be the next victims of targeted terrorist attacks or police brutality. While we, members of the black and brown community fear, the world…it remains silent.