STATEMENT AGAINST ANTI-ASIAN HATE AND ANTI-FEMALE VIOLENCE
(23 March 2021) The Sisters of Swing Phi Swing SFI® condemn the the acts of violence that have escalated against our Asian brothers and sisters recently. As proponents of civil rights and civil liberties, we have always, in words and actions, stood up against discrimination and hate-based crimes, especially those committed against women and people of color.
According to a report by the Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic, there were over 3,800 attacks against Asian Americans over the past year. The types of crimes categorized in the report are verbal harassment, physical assault, civil rights violations, and cyberbullying.
Due to the first reported cases of Coronavirus 19 pandemic initiating in China, people of Chinese origin, have been the ethnic group most frequently targeted (42.2% of the incidents) which have been reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in businesses, on public streets, and online.
Public attention about the unmitigated intensity of the environment of violence surrounding the issue escalated as news reports announced a mass shooting of eight people by confessed gunman Robert Aaron Long, age 21, who shot nine people, killing eight, and injuring one, at three different businesses in two Georgia counties on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
With six of the victims being women of Asian descent, questions have been raised about the potential racial and/or ethnic motives for the crimes, Representative Tram T. Nguyen (D-GA) argued that since the law against hate crimes also applies to gender, and the shooter was specifically targeting women, that Long’s actions should indeed be considered hate crimes. Sociologist Nancy Wang Yen stated that “the events took place in the context of an intersection on racism and sexism”.
While it is yet to be proven whether Long’s attacks were motivated by politics, race, religion, or personal mental health issues, a major source of the cyberbullying of Asians overall has been attributed to former President Donald J. Trump’s referring to the virus as the “Kung Flu” and tweeting the phrase “Chinese Virus”. According to University of California at San Francisco epidemiology professor Yulin Hswen in a Washington Post article, the hashtag #covid-19, which had been trending up until the week prior to Trump’s tweet, was overtaken by the hashtag #chinesevirus. Trump repeated the “China Virus” slur during a Fox News interview the same night as the shootings.
As a response to the shootings, activists protested in cities throughout America this week while concerned citizens held vigils for the victims of the attacks and Social media saw the hashtag #StopAsianHate trending due to the Stop AAPI Hate campaign.
According to Swing’s® National President, Lori S. Gittens, “As one of our national initiatives is Women’s Health and Wellness, it is important to recognize the role of race, ethnicity, gender, and other social factors when exploring the determinants of violence against women in America. As with Asian women, there is a history of over-representation of sexualized imagery of Black women that factors into said violence and disproportionately impacts the health and wellness of women of color in America. We believe it’s crucial to bring together multiple sectors of society to work together to inform, implement, and create change.”
Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Inc.® is a non-profit organization founded in 1969 and dedicated to community service, promoting and achieving academic excellence, and enhancing community and cultural consciousness. As a service-based organization, we are committed to supporting organizations and programs that parallel and complement the goals of our beloved sisterhood. We proudly partner with national service organizations such as the National Council of Negro Women, Inc® and participate in community-building activities that raise awareness for issues that affect our community.
With the mission to enrich the quality of life in the communities we serve, Sisters of Swing Phi Swing SFI® dedicate our time, energy, and virtue to effecting social change. We strive to embody a Sisterhood through a diverse fellowship of women in an effort to achieve our vision to promote leadership, academic excellence, community involvement, and civic and cultural consciousness.
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