March 24, 2021

Youth on Record Statement on Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

Youth on Record is saddened and infuriated at the continued racist and white supremacist violence targeting Asian women in the United States. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of those murdered.  We have chosen not to name those murdered here as their family members have begun to request that those they lost not be named and we intend to honor their wishes. Also, our deepest condolences to all of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities hurting right now. 

Though another act of anti-Asian, xenophobic, and sexist violence in the U.S. comes as no surprise in a country with a long history of, and origin in, racist and white supremacist ideology and violence, we are no less heartbroken to hear of this event.

This event connects to a long history of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. as well as the more recent surge in anti-Asian violence related to the xenophobic and stereotyped beliefs exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the colonization of the U.S., Asian and Asian Americans have suffered, resisted, and survived labor exploitation, legal exclusion, forced internment, segregation, stereotyping, and caricaturing in the media via the “model minority” myth and the notion of “yellow peril”, scapegoating for outsourcing and the decline of the American auto manufacturing industry, and more. Women of Asian descent have been hypersexualized, fetishized, and generally sexually objectified and exploited throughout U.S. history both in the U.S. and abroad in the context of war and imperialism. 

Locally, here in Colorado, our history is steeped in anti-Asian violence. A plaque on the corner of 20th and Blake Street in Denver marks the existence and destruction of Hop Alley, a neighborhood and economic center once home to predominantly Chinese immigrants. People of Chinese descent and their businesses were attacked by a white mob in 1880, leaving the community destroyed and never again rebuilt. Furthermore, during World War II, approximately 10,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly and illegally detained at Camp Amache/Granada War Relocation Center in Colorado. Presently, according to a recent study by the coalition Stop AAPI Hate, Colorado ranks 13th in the nation for violence and discrimination against Asian Americans.   

To our AAPI staff, students, and community members, we see you and we support you. We commit to working in solidarity to combat anti-Asian violence and discrimination by educating our staff and students, highlighting your invaluable contributions to our societies and culture, uplifting your stories of brave resistance throughout history, and creating safe and culturally affirming spaces for students of Asian descent in our classes, programs, and society at large.  

We are calling on our allies and friends to take action now by:

  • Educating yourself on the history of Asian and Asian American experience in the U.S and locally
  • Emphasizing the long history of inter-group solidarity and justice coalitions initiated by and participated in by Asian and Asian Americans
  • Speaking out against anti-Asian racism, xenophobia, and the fetishization of AAPI women in your families and communities
  • Supporting local AAPI owned businesses who’ve seen a decline in business during the pandemic 
  • Supporting non-profits like Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and more
  • Holding your businesses and organizations accountable to anti-racist policy and action
  • Supporting, protecting, and defending AAPI youth from all forms of violence especially if you are responsible for their care and wellbeing as a teacher, school administrator, program facilitator, coach, mentor, or are in any other position giving you the honor and responsibility of serving AAPI youth
  • Supporting and centering AAPI youth voice in art, music, and all collective and creative spaces  


 

In Solidarity, 

Youth on Record Executive Team