Dear AGESW members,
We have been deeply saddened by the anti-Asian violence across the nation in the past year. As gerontological social workers, we condemn violent acts and discriminatory statements against the Asian and Asian American communities. More than 3800 hate incidents directed at Asian Americans have been documented across the country over the past year.* There is an intersection of anti-Asian racism, gender oppression and socioeconomic inequity with vulnerabilities of older adults. Asian older adults have been disproportionately impacted by the rise of anti-Asian racism and hate crimes, much of which was fueled by anti-Asian messaging and fear-mongering from political leaders.
These violent acts include:
- A 89 year old Chinese woman who was attacked and set on fire in New York City
- Fatal assault of a defenseless 84 year old Thai man in San Francisco
- A 75 year old Chinese woman was punched in the face on the street while waiting for the traffic light to change
As social workers, we are trained to examine and address structural factors which contribute to oppression and violence. In line with the newly added Grand Challenge to Eliminate Racism, we are aligned with the assertion that “racist policies, bias, and discriminatory practices continue to promote racial inequality in myriad ways. Social work has provided considerable leadership in the civil rights and race equity movements, but has much more work to do, internal to the profession and for society as a whole.”**
Here are some words from AGESW Keith Chan (AGESW member, Rutgers Asian RCMAR Scientist and Vice President of APISWEA***)
Although this may seem new to some, the conditional minority status of Asians in the United States has always been a part of the history of the country which we call our home. I would also offer that it was through the violence perpetrated in our communities that had led to many of us coming together and seeking out allies in the cause of social justice. I am reminded of the decades of social justice work which has persisted in our Asian American communities, the role of Asian Americans in activist movements during the Civil Rights era, and the desire from many of us now who are working tirelessly to eradicate hate and oppression. As Asian Americans, we have held a seat at the table for far too long to have our identities be made invisible as we face the hatred that is directed towards us.
Although this message comes with sad tidings, I am emboldened by the talent and drive of our members. We have the will, and we have numbers to turn the tide against hate. I hope we can be a support to one another. In the coming days and weeks, I hope we can find affinity and allyship with one another and also those who wish to work together to fight the oppression that ultimately hurts all of us. Please stay in touch, and know that you are not alone.
Please stay engaged. We are having an AGESW forum on this soon (details to be sent out shortly). Please reach out if you would like to be involved in planning this forum.
Tam E. Perry
Asian American Immigrant
Here are some additional statements:
***Asian Pacific Islander Social Work Educator Association