When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic this time last year, we grimly anticipated that this public health crisis would take a toll on women and communities of color and that existing inequities would be exacerbated. Before the declaration, community leaders and organizations sounded the alarm of another “virus” on the rise: anti-Asian hate incidences. A year later, the number of reported incidences of discrimination has spiked by 150% in major US cities, including Seattle. These incidences recently have escalated from refusal of business and verbal harassment to physical violence, particularly towards Asian American elders and Asian American women.
We recognize we should have said something earlier; now, we know we must speak out. We stand in solidarity with our Asian American members, staff, grantees, and community members. We join organizations across Washington State and the country in condemning these horrific acts of violence, xenophobia, and misplaced fear fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sinophobia, and the former presidential administration’s racist remarks. We also condemn those who use the “model minority” myth as a tool of white supremacy to divide communities of color and to diminish experiences of racism, misogyny, and classism within the Asian American community. WA Women’s Foundation’s commitment to increasing equity and reducing disparities includes a vision of a collective society where everyone can life a safe and secure life with dignity.
As grantmakers, we also recognize we can do better to support the extremely diverse Asian American community here in Washington State, not just in times of crisis. Currently, less than 1% of national foundation grants directly support Asian American communities. Sadly, our own funding history reflects similar numbers, a circumstance we are addressing through our new granting guidelines and throughout our organization. In the short term, Washington Women’s Foundation will contribute funds to API Chaya, in support of their culturally sensitive work assisting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and building power and mobilizing South Asian, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.
WA Women’s Foundation was founded on the belief that collective action and learning can lead to community transformation. We must support each other, and uplift the community leaders and organizations that work to address and eradicate the inequities that create, uphold, and reinforce systemic and institutionalized racism. We hope you will join us in this work.
WA Women’s Foundation and staff, with special thanks to Aki Shibuya for her guidance.
- Report an incident: Stop AAPI Hate, Standing Against Hatred
- “Consciousness-Raising: Learning How to Respond to Anti-Asian Racism,” South Seattle Emerald
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice
- Bystander Intervention Virtual Trainings, hosted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Hollaback
- 18 Million Rising
- “The long history of anti-Asian hate in America, explained,” Vox
- “Let’s Talk Combating Anti-Asian Racism During COVID-19: History of Anti-Asian Sentiment in US History” – WA Women’s Foundation hosted an event on May 7, 2020, which looked at the rise of anti-Asian racism during COVID-19. The recorded segment includes a historical overview of anti-Asian racism in US history.