Labor Community Condemns Rise in Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

May 7, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has experienced increasing incidents of Anti-Asian rhetoric, violence and racism. After the horrifying murders of eight people in Atlanta on March 16, where six victims were Asian massage parlor workers, the labor movement responded with a strong condemnation. “Asian American workers are a vital part of our labor movement and have shown an immense amount of dedication throughout this pandemic,” said AFL-CIO President Trumka. “The murders in Atlanta are a horrific and disgusting part of the surging violence Asian Americans have faced over the past year, and reinforce that we all must continue to fight against anti-Asian racism in all forms.”

“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 families,” Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) National President Monica Thammarath said. “We also should not overlook the fact that these were Asian and Asian American women working in industries with few worker protections and oversight.”

“It is misogyny and white supremacy that both empower white nationalists to acts of violence, and policymakers to exclude workers from protections when they are in industries disproportionately represented by women and immigrants,” Thammarath continued. “We will hold the women and their coworkers and their grieving loved ones in our hearts as we continue to fight for our communities.” “The APWU, along with fellow unions and communities across the country, condemns all forms of harmful rhetoric, violence, and racism against our Asian brothers and sisters,” said President Dimondstein. “This racism has a long history in the United States, from the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, to the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, all the way to the COVID-19 pandemic and the murders in Atlanta on March 16.

“The APWU stands with our Asian family, friends, coworkers, and community members and is committed to standing against any and all attempts to sow division and hatred based on skin color or national origin,” President Dimondstein continued. “All APWU members are encouraged to speak out and demand justice in solidarity with our Asian family, friends, and community members.”

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