Last June, the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), issued a statement against systemic racism. In that statement, we focused on “Black women in particular [who] carry the burden of racism in everyday life as well as within workplaces and educational settings. It is critical that we as a STEM organization recognize their experiences and do not let them stand alone. By being silent, or proceeding as if it’s ‘business as usual,’ we are only perpetuating the harm of systemic racism.”
We must again raise our voices to decry systemic racism. The murders in Atlanta last week targeted Asian women. The U.S. has a long history of anti-Asian racism, but the political rhetoric and ignorance about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year have increased anti-Asian slurs and crimes and the people who perpetrate them.
We at AWIS will not dismiss the Atlanta crime as solitary episode. We know that many Asian Americans deal with racism daily – although it may not always be this visible or violent. We will not ignore the headlines or look away because these shootings took place in a distant town or targeted specific venues. We will not blame the victims for their profession.
We must pay attention:
• In 2020, reports of hate crimes against people in the Asian community grew 150% according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino.
• There have been 3,800 reported incidents of hate and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the last year, with Asian American women reporting 2.3 times as many hate incidents as Asian American men, according to Stop AAPI Hate.
We recognize the emotional toll these attacks have had on our Asian members, coworkers, neighbors, friends and family. We grieve with them, the victims’ families, and the impacted communities. We will listen to and support Asian women in the STEM community as they share their fears, their frustrations, and their own encounters with racist, misogynistic behavior. We encourage those in the scientific community to learn more about the lived experiences of members of the Asian community – including Asians, Asian Americans, South Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders – to reject stereotypes, and to stand up to racist behaviors if you witness them.
Here is a short list of resources to get started:
• The long, ugly history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the US (Washington Post)
• Asian American Women Have Never Been Truly Safe (Glamour)
• Asian Americans (PBS)
• Op-Ed by Eric Nam (Time)
• Follow #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate on Twitter
AWIS will add more on the Antiracism Resources section of our website and pledge to continue advocating for a more inclusive, equitable, and safer environment.