Statement condemning anti-Asian hate crimes // Solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander library workers

The ACRL-OR Board stands with all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders against acts of white supremacy targeting Asians and Pacific Islander Americans. We are utterly heartbroken by the murder of eight people in the Atlanta area, six of whom were Asian and immigrant women. We stand in grief and solidarity with those who have experienced “gendered racial violence and racialized sexual violence.” We stand in community with APANO, APALA, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Chinese American Library Association, and the many other affinity groups of AAPI workers in libraries and beyond. 

From 2020-21, there have been more than 3,800 incidents reported to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center. As hate crimes targeting Asian American communities are on the rise, we also recognize that this is not an isolated moment in time. From the Chinese Exclusion Act and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, to outrageous stereotypes in the media ridiculing and dehumanizing Asian Americans, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian violence. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Asian American Studies and Gender and Women’s studies departments articulated this history:

“The recent rise in anti-Asian violence against all ages and genders in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic has a deep-seated history in U.S. culture, white supremacy, and harmful stereotypes of Asian migrants as carriers of disease and contagion. The former president fueled this hatred by repeatedly calling the coronavirus the “China virus,” and “kung flu,” and his words are echoed by millions of Americans even as reported anti-Asian violence rose 150% in 2020. But this latest incident of violence demands that we account for the specific vulnerabilities of Asian migrants who are targeted while working at massage parlors and spas, Asian migrants who are often poor and sometimes undocumented, Asian migrants who are subject to sexualized violence whether or not they traded sex because of an enduring animus toward sex workers, Asian women, and immigrants. After all, it is the fantasized figure of the migrant Asian sex worker who is the foundation of U.S. anti-immigration law. The first immigration restriction legislation, the Page Act of 1875, prohibited the migration of all Chinese women, described as “lewd” and “immoral,” on the assumption that all Chinese women engaged in sex work. A century of U.S. military operations in Asia and the Pacific oversaw the expansion of sex trades around bases, and reinforced the non-accountability for U.S. soldiers’ racialized sexual violence toward all Asian women, from Okinawa to Saigon to Manila. Asian and Asian immigrant women have been particularly vulnerable to multiple forms of violence within these longer histories of U.S. militarism and law.”

There is no room for hate in libraries. Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, sinophobia, systematic, intentional and intersectional violence, and other forms of white supremacy will not be tolerated in our communities or in our libraries. We encourage and support all academic libraries and academic library workers in their efforts to eliminate white supremacy in their communities. 

How can academic libraries and library workers in Oregon respond?

  • Check in with your community of coworkers and patrons. In the middle of a pandemic, state-sanctioned murder of BIPOC, the grief of COVID-related losses, environmental disaster upon environmental disaster, the stresses of systemic racism we already endure, and now these murders, our community members need each others’ care, solidarity, and support more than ever. 
  • Interrupt macro and micro aggressions. Commit to speaking up anytime you witness anti-Asian sentiments or other types of racism—in your family, among your friends, with your colleagues and patrons, and out in public.
  • Support the organizing work of AAPI-led groups and community-based solutions. Engage with racial equity work and build community solidarity by donating and volunteering at: 
    • Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of Asian and Migrant Sex workers, organizing transnationally.
    • Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Atlanta, first and only nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) in Georgia and the Southeast.
    • Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice, using collective strengths to advance equity through empowering, organizing and advocating with API communities.
    • The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) mission is to build collective power with AAPI women and girls to gain full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities. Using a reproductive justice framework, NAPAWF elevates AAPI women and girls to impact policy and drive systemic change in the United States.
    • 18 Million Rising (18MR) brings Asian American communities together to reimagine Asian American identity with nuance, specificity, and power.

ACRL-Oregon Board