March 10, 2021
The recent increase in hate and violence against Asian Americans across the country and right here in California is antithetical to everything we stand for as a union, and we will not be silent. That many of these crimes have been committed against elders is especially shameful. As Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director of UDW, we represent over 140,000 home caregivers and family child care providers. Almost 20 percent of our members identify as Asian American Pacific Islander (API). Any attack on a member of the API community, be it words or violence, is an attack on all of us.
Though the attacks over the past year are the direct result of racist rhetoric and hateful lies arising from the coronavirus pandemic, they represent a long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States deeply rooted in white supremacy. That some of these attacks have been perpetrated by people of color does not diminish their connection to this legacy. Indeed, it reinforces the long-standing tradition in this country of setting communities of color against each other to maintain a racist status quo.
But as leaders of both the Black and API communities, we know that we also have a long history of standing together to fight racism in all its forms. We can learn from the example of activists like Tamio Wakayama, a Japanese-Canadian man who was interned during the anti-Asian frenzies of World War II and went on to volunteer for Black civil rights during Freedom Summer and beyond. Or Muhammed Ali, who chose possible jail time over being sent to kill Vietnamese when he took a stand and said “No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.”
We must not let our communities become divided. We demand that our elected leaders take the elevated threat against the API community seriously and immediately address the toxic political culture and lies that are behind this increase in attacks. And we call on all our brothers and sisters of color to rise to this moment and protect each other and keep each other strong in our shared journey to justice.
-Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director
-Johanna Puno Hester, UDW Assistant Executive Director
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