As leaders in NARACES, we would like to denounce the persistent and rising hate-crimes against members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community. We again are facing the reality of white supremacy, with the recent mass shooting targeting Asian Americans, in which eight people were killed. Six of the killed were Asian-American women.
This racism and white supremacy are something that we cannot stay silent about. We want to address the region and acknowledge the ongoing trauma and fear over safety that the AAPI community has always experienced and continues to experience at increasing rates in the last year. The rhetoric and language, particularly around the pandemic, has fueled continued bias, hate crimes, and violence against AAPI individuals. Anti-Asian violence and bias has unfortunately been a part of the national narrative since the inception of our history, and we have seen an increase of targeted hate language leveled at our Asian American neighbors, loved ones, and colleagues since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hate-crimes have increased, Asian owned business have been shunned, and bias language has persisted. The resulting fear has serious impact on daily living and individual mental health.
We value mental health, relationships, and wellness. White supremacy has negative impacts on all three of these and staying silent allows white supremacy to persist. Advocacy and social justice should be in the fabric of our professional identities. To our regional members who identify as Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander, NARACES stands with you. Please note that we have an upcoming BIPOC wellness group related to racial trauma. Also, please look for registration, opening in a couple weeks, for an affinity group for International Asian and Asian-American regional members in April. Both events are planned by our Wellness and Advocacy committees.
As counselors and counselor educators, it is essential that we identify racism when it happens and model this to students. We must recognize the insidious impacts of white supremacy, and openly challenge the white supremist narrative that simply a ‘lone wolf’ or ‘mental health issues’ have led to these acts of terror against minoritized community members. Initiate complex conversation with students about how to consider and communicate intersectionality in relation to this hate crime by reading this commentary. This article provides ideas and resources on addressing the history of anti-Asian racism and violence that can be adapted for graduate students. Further, consider attending this free bystander intervention training with your students. Finally, and as a reminder, ACA’s statement was accompanied with various resources and articles of note.