Ending Racialized and Gendered Violence

Root & Rebound
3 min readMar 25, 2021

--

Dear Community,

The recent killing of six Asian-American women and two others in Georgia has left us heartbroken. We know that racism, sexism, and xenophobia are at the core of this loss of life. We recognize the unspeakable tragedy of the children left behind without their mothers and the loved ones now mourning their family members and friends.

The Asian-American community has experienced a rise in hate crimes and violent acts after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in great part because of the irresponsible rhetoric spoken by then-President Trump — which has encouraged, inflamed, and exacerbated existing hate, tensions, and racial divides in our nation generally, and particularly towards Asian Americans. And Asian women have historically been exoticized, sexualized, and objectified in a way that makes them targets for this kind of violence. After the shooting, there was much discussion about whether this was sexism or racism in action. As many have concluded, we know that this shooting is a display of both — combined with the lack of support for mental illness in this country, a lack of common-sense gun laws, and issues with violence and toxic masculinity.

In the aftermath of this shooting, we also saw law enforcement’s efforts to soften and humanize the white male perpetrator’s crime. When a member of law enforcement characterizes the perpetrator’s actions as a “bad day,” while the system as a whole treats suspects who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as threatening and dangerous for crimes of poverty and survival — take the cases of George Floyd and Eric Garner for example — we see that the assumption of innocence and good intent are extended to one group versus the hyper criminalization of people of color.

We mourn the eight lives lost in the Atlanta shootings. We stand with the families and communities who are now grieving their loved ones. We also mourn the conscience of the country and its criminal legal system and continue to believe that the work we do here — driving forward reforms in our system to recognize the humanity and dignity of all people, prevent violence, and create more social support for people and families across the country, are incredibly important. We need our government to invest in its young people, in education, in violence prevention, and in communities of color now more than ever. All of these issues are connected.

We also need to end hateful speech and the dehumanization of people of color. This language is in large part responsible for the extreme violence we see far too often in the United States and more recently in Atlanta. We also need a system that examines and takes seriously the warning signs of violent language and behavior and does not look the other way. This is particularly important when it comes to implicit bias in our system — where violence and violent rhetoric by white males are often ignored until it is too late. We need to demand that the system treat hateful rhetoric and speech against women and people of color as the threat that it is.

In Solidarity,

The Root & Rebound Team

--

--

Root & Rebound

Support people navigating reentry and reduce the harms perpetuated by mass incarceration.