NASTAD Condemns Xenophobic & Racist Attacks Against Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

During the evening of March 16, 2021, eight people were killed in three separate shootings near Atlanta, Georgia. Six of those killed were Asian, and all but one were women. This attack follows months of escalating violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the United States. NASTAD condemns these xenophobic, classist, and misogynist acts rooted in white supremacy and offers its condolences to the families of those affected by this tragedy. 

Racism is a public health crisis that has fueled xenophobic and racist attacks against the AAPI community since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeffrey Caballero, the Executive Director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, in a joint statement of AAPI leaders published on March 11, 2020, stated: 

This is a global emergency that should be met with both urgency and also cultural awareness that COVID-19 is not isolated to a single ethnic population. Xenophobic attacks and discrimination towards Asian American communities are unacceptable and will not make our families safer or healthier. 

Nearly 3,800 documented hate incidents against the AAPI community have occurred since the start of the pandemic. NASTAD acknowledges that pandemics futher exacerbate systemic injustices, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism, which target the most low-resourced and marginalized groups among us.  

The attacks against members of our communities must stop. Harmful language that normalizes hate against AAPI communities also serves to perpetuate the health inequities faced by people placed at risk, including people living with HIV and/or viral hepatitis, and people who use drugs. 

The core of NASTAD’s mission is an unwavering commitment to social justice. We recognize that we will not end the HIV and hepatitis epidemics and related syndemics without dismantling the systems of oppression that fuel racial health inequities. We prioritize fighting injustices where we see them, and we value equity in all forms. 

NASTAD is encouraged by President Biden’s statement condemning the vicious hate towards AAPI communities in a speech on March 11, 2021, and the move by the House Judiciary Committee on March 18 to begin to hold hearings on discrimination and violence against the AAPI community. These are important first steps, but NASTAD calls on Congress, the Administration, our racial and social justice partners, and allies to continue standing in solidarity with the AAPI community so that we can put an end to the hateful violence around us.