New York, NY: “This morning’s shooting resulted in a tragic loss for the Atlanta community and for Asian-American Pacific Islander communities across the country. While we mourn the women who were murdered, we must also recognize that this crime did not occur in a vacuum. Increased attention to xenophobia against Asian-Americans and calls to action are a start, but there must also be a laser-focused response concerning the abysmal lack of gun control in the United States. We would be remiss to frame this as a singular issue and fixate on one aspect of these homicides, which are symptomatic of our country’s chronic illness that is gun violence. I am angry and sickened that the support from leaders in Washington, D.C. has amounted to issued statements, and not introduced legislation.
Many allies are asking, “How can we support the Asian community in New York City during this time of great stress and heightened fear?” I want to see deep change that goes beyond reaction and commentary. The support that we need is day-to-day interactions between communities. To make lasting change, there needs to consistent support between communities of color.
Supporting the Asian community means supporting our Asian youth. The city’s response should be centered around funding youth and community engagement, and that means financing programs like SONYC, SYEP, and COMPASS. If our goal is inter-community growth, we have to retain accessible programming that gives our young people ample opportunities to engage with New Yorkers from different backgrounds.
Regarding rising xenophobia, the great heaviness we all feel from reading this morning’s news is tinted with nuanced emotions about recent assaults against our community. We are not a monolith and our reaction to traumatic events is personal. If there are Asian community members whose fears are lessened by increased police presence, then I thank my district’s local precincts and Commissioner Shea for providing that relief. My office has been and will continue to lead multi-lingual educational efforts about safety precautions and how to report hate crimes.”