AAPI Heritage Month: Celebrating culture and addressing violence in Asian communitiesWritten by SAFE
Blatant violence and hate against Asian and Pacific Islander communities has been on the rise in the United States in recent years. The Stop Asian Hate movement was created in response to the increased racial discrimination against Asian Americans during the pandemic, and more acutely in response to the mass shooting that occurred at three Atlanta spas in 2021, killing six Asian women and two others.
Last weekend, the shooter who attacked a California church, killing one man and injuring five other people, was explicitly motivated by his hate for Taiwanese people. That same weekend, another racist man in Dallas shot and wounded three people at a Koreatown salon. Learning that these racist men have specifically targeted and killed Asian Americans is traumatic; our hearts go to our Asian American Pacific Islander friends, family, colleagues, and clients.
As an organization working to stop abuse and violence in Central Texas, we also know that the cycle of violence means these horrific acts can be mirrored within private spaces and homes.
From the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence, we know that 21–55% of Asian women in the U.S. report experiencing intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. We also know that the top explanations for why family violence happens were that the husband wants power, domination, and control or that he is frustrated/has anger.
These intergenerational impacts of violence and hate are part of why SAFE continues to learn about how we can better serve and better work with Asian and Pacific Islander communities. And yet, focusing solely on AAPI violence creates a skewed, incomplete picture of these communities—we have a strong core of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Pan Asian staff at SAFE who give us the opportunity to see and celebrate the many joyous aspects of their communities.
AAPI Heritage Month staff celebration
This month, to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, SAFE’s Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Pan Asian Staff Task Force (APIPASTF) has taken part in a series of events to celebrate culture and partnerships in our community, including a recent staff potluck.
On Friday, May 20, the APIPASTF and its chair, Langa, created a lunchtime experience that included food from Tarka, a potluck of Asian food brought by staff, and a presentation by SAFE’s community partner, Asian Family Support Services of Austin. The event was a celebration of the joy that food brings to AAPI communities, but also a reminder of the community resources available to help us engage in more culturally responsive means of supporting survivors.