As we celebrate Lunar New Year, offering a fresh start, MEDA puts forth a hopeful vision that together we must finally eradicate the legacy of xenophobia and systemic racism that remains a stain on our nation. In our ongoing commitment to promote racial and social equity, MEDA cannot stand idly by, especially in light of recent acts of violence against the Asian American community.
A 91-year-old Asian man strolling down the street in broad daylight was targeted and brazenly shoved face first into the pavement. A tech company advertised for “non-Asian” applicants. Ethnic slurs have been daily hurled at Asian Americans, scapegoated as carriers of COVID-19 and putting the community on high alert, especially seniors. Sadly, these acts of violence all happened right in our own backyard. From Oakland’s Chinatown to Silicon Valley to San Francisco’s Richmond District, these horrific incidents reflect what is happening across the land.
According to the latest data from Stop AAPI Hate, between March 19 and December 31 of last year, the group received a staggering 2,800+ reported incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans — and we know that such incidents are vastly underreported. Over half of these cases were in California. There is no denying that rhetoric from the prior federal administration, especially around the coronavirus, played a major role in this increase. Past federally sanctioned atrocities also showcase our country’s long-entrenched racism against Asian Americans, including: the 1882 Congressional Exclusionary Act restricting immigration of Chinese laborers; the 1907 formation of the Asian Exclusion League, aimed at halting immigration of anyone from that continent, including South Asians; and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans, the majority U.S. citizens.
Our organization will always hold true to our core value of equity: Until equity is achieved for all historically marginalized groups, our country will remain less than.
That is why MEDA vows to:
- Stand with our Asian American staff, ensuring they feel safe and secure not just at work, but in their personal lives.
- Stand with our Asian American-focused partner organizations, looking to them for guidance on how we can best lend our support to combat these current challenges.
- Stand with our Asian American neighbors, uplifting and honoring their stories of perseverance and their laudable contributions to our society.
Let’s stand together to effect change.
Chief Executive Officer