We want to acknowledge the tragic and distributing acts of verbal and physical violence that have been recently directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including yesterday’s violent mass shootings targeted at the Asian-American community in Atlanta, GA. These harmful incidents are hitting close to home as we’ve heard many recent reports of our young people, especially in the Bay Area, who are staying home from school in fear of violence and retaliation.
According to a recent study by CSU Santa Barbara’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans have increased by 150% in large urban areas throughout America, including in communities like Oakland and New York City that many BUILD students, staff, teachers, and mentors call home.
At BUILD, one of our core values is to Promote Diversity and Social Action. 25% of our staff identify as AAPI, along with hundreds of students, teachers, Board members, alumni, mentors, and volunteers in the BUILD family. This is an incredibly tragic and fearful time for our AAPI community and we stand proudly in solidarity to denounce the hate crimes that have been targeting their family, friends, and loved ones.
During these challenging times, it has never been more important to uphold our commitment to supporting our students, our people, and our community. The National Leadership Team and I will also be working closely with our Program Staff to ensure that our AAPI students feel safe and are supported to process what is happening in their communities in order to channel their fears and frustrations into action.
Though moments like this have a devastating impact on the progress that our country is making towards social justice and racial equity, BUILD is hopeful for our future and thankful for all the important work that we’re all doing to build a more just and equitable world.