"Racism against AAPI Americans is not new.— Dr. Michelle Au (@AuforGA) March 15, 2021
Otherization of AAPI Americans is not new.
But the motto of the United States is E Pluribus Unum: 'Out of many, one.'
Asian-Americans are part of our country’s plurality.
We are some of the many, and we’re part of that one."#gapol pic.twitter.com/o2lzNb4iIy
Georgia state Senator Michelle Au simply asked for recognition, protection, and support. On March 15, Dr. Au, who is the first Asian American woman to serve as a state senator in Georgia, addressed her fellow senators about the rise in anti-Asian violence and attacks on the AAPI community. Her comments came just one day before a man killed eight people, six of them Asian women, in a horrific series of shootings in Atlanta massage parlors. Dr. Au's words were a warning and a chilling reality of the hate AAPI individuals have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After sharing reported stories and stats, Dr. Au explained that in the last year, the Stop AAPI Hate organization "has received more than 3,000 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian American harassment or attacks, compared to roughly 100 incidents annually in previous years." "Georgia should not consider itself immune from this epidemic," Dr. Au said. "And to be clear, the epidemic I'm referring to is not COVID-19, but racism towards Asian Americans. . . . The thing is, racism against AAPI Americans is not new. Otherization or exoticization of AAPI Americans is not new. Violence against AAPI Americans is not new."
The jarring increase in xenophobic hate crimes against Asian Americans over the last year is due in large part to the racist rhetoric peddled by our former administration. And it's more important than ever for people in power to not only condemn these crimes, but offer support and protection to Asian Americans.
"Recognize that we need help, we need protection, and we need people in power to stand up with us against hate."
"The key to social change is participation, especially when you feel that voices like yours aren't always heard," Dr. Au said. "That's why I'm here. That's why I know the senator from the 5th is here. Because Asian Americans are an important part of our communities. They are an important part of Georgia. And they — we — are an important part of the fabric of this country. . . . All I'm asking right now, as the first East Asian state senator in Georgia, is simply to fully consider us as part of your communities. Recognize that we need help, we need protection, and we need people in power to stand up with us against hate. Being elected to represent our communities means representing everyone in our communities, and I implore you today to raise your awareness and stand up against discrimination towards our Asian American neighbors and friends."
Watch her speech above and find out how to support the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) here.