It happened in Atlanta, but it didn’t begin there.
Among the many beautiful and inspiring stories that make up the fabric of our nation are also some incredibly ugly truths: one is the long history of exclusionary and racist behaviors towards people of Asian/AAPI descent. It feels as though we are barely healing from profoundly devastating cultural moments, like Breonna Taylor’s death, when yet another incident of violence against Asian/AAPI peoples reminds us that we are not free from hate and actions that instill fear in our friends and neighbors.
In truth, this issue existed long before the pandemic, but COVID has put on full display the ways in which people of Asian/AAPI descent have been targeted by hateful language and actions. The loss of life that we recently witnessed in Atlanta is evidence of this. While controversy exists around the motives for the crime, we must always acknowledge the truth before us; in this case, it is that of 8 people killed, 6 were women of Asian descent. Regardless of the motive, the outcome remains. Let’s take a moment to grieve for the victims, their families, and our fellow Asian/AAPI citizens who are reeling from the impact of the heinous actions of Tuesday.
Yet, we must not let this dim our hope. Every day at Green Acres, we are witness to the power of progressive education in shaping our children as kind, intelligent, and thoughtful global citizens who will take the torch and lead us into a better, brighter future.
Having moved back to Maryland after so many years away, I’ve been thinking about the word home a lot lately and the incredible anchoring power that it has within a community. Green Acres has become my other home, and, indeed, many of us now have yard signs on our front lawns or in windows that make that very declaration. But the other important addition I would make is that hate has no home here. We are a community rooted in justice, inclusivity, and compassion, and it is our privilege and responsibility to carry these values with us as we engage in the difficult—but worthy—work of healing our world.
Here are some helpful resources from the Learning for Justice website that can support your work as an ally against racism:
- "Speaking Up Against Racism Around the Coronavirus" by Coshandra Dillard | This article includes some historical context for anti-Asian/AAPI sentiment in the U.S.
- "Min Jee's Lunch" by Elizabeth Kleinrock | This article shares a child-appropriate story of a school experience, complete with reflection questions.
- "How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism" by Learning for Justice Staff | This article has practical strategies to interrupt racism in conversation.