On Tuesday, March 16, eight lives, six of whom were Asian American women, were murdered in a series of spa shootings in the state of Georgia. Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO, YWCA USA has issued the following statement in response:
“We are devastated by the loss of eight lives to violence in the state of Georgia last night, six of whom were Asian American women, and we send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these victims. While few details regarding the motive behind the shootings have been released, these murders cannot be separated from the rise in harassment and violence against Asian and Asian-American people since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nor can they be separated from the misogyny that underlies violence against women. As an organization dedicated to eliminating racism for people of all races, origins, and ethnicities, YWCA condemns this violence in the strongest possible way.
As our nation’s long overdue reckoning with racism and injustice continues and as Asian Americans continue to experience a growing number of racially motivated attacks that directly correlate with an increase in white nationalist discourse, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and the disinformation campaign associated with the novel coronavirus in our country, we call on policymakers to not only investigate the rising tide of hate crimes in America, but to take swift action on common sense solutions like the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and the NO Hate Act. We join our allies in the racial justice and gender equity communities in demanding justice for the AAPI community. And we call on all Americans to resist ill-informed, biased perspectives about Asian Americans and all people of Asian descent.
At YWCA, we are unwavering in our demand for justice and in our commitment to creating a world in which all women, girls, and people of color can thrive. The shared experience of structural inequality and racism across all communities of color requires us to deepen our work together to advocate for equity and justice. We do this work because we demand a safe world of equity and human decency, and we will get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, and until justice just is.”