We know we have had a complicated relationship over the years, from the Afro-Asian solidarity in the 1960s and 1970s; to the injustice of Soon Ja Du receiving no jail time for killing Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old Black girl in 1992; to the recent outrage of Officer Tao Thao turning a blind eye to the murder of George Floyd last month. There are deep wounds that we need to openly acknowledge, address, and begin healing between Asian and Black peoples. We must also address the ongoing harm that we cause by perpetuating anti-blackness within our own communities. For too long we have stayed silent and protected ourselves by aligning with whiteness and have a lot of work to do to challenge the internalized messaging that we have embraced as the so-called model minority.
We recognize and acknowledge with profound gratitude all the work your community has done for ours. Asian people in America would not have the privileges we have without the sacrifice and perseverance of the Black and Latinx communities. The civil rights movement opened the doors to immigrants of all color in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act, paving the way for a more diverse and prosperous America, one that included people like us, but has largely excluded the Black community.
In the aftermath of the Vietnam War and our country's withdrawal from Southeast Asia, Black people fought for Southeast Asian refugees' human rights and held our country accountable. Malcolm X helped inspire Asian activists to reclaim a sense of the history of Asians in America and to reject wholesale assimilation in the 1960s and today. Black civil rights activists advocated for justice for the hate crime and murder of Vincent Chin in the 1980s. And recently, some of the loudest voices against anti-Asian racism during the pandemic have come from our Black community.
Now is the time to fight for Black lives. We commit to adding our voices, votes, dollars, and bodies to the fight; and will use our privilege to stand with you.
Clara Byulnim Soh
Jasmine R Chapman
Joyce Hasegawa Kesterson & Ted R Kesterson
Kristine Chiharu Hoida McConnell
LeeAnn O'Neill (Lee Mee Hang)
Naomi Sugimoto Crummett
Penny E. Nakamura
Roy M Chapman
Shirley Imada Metcalf