News Center for Human Rights, Gender & Migration Behavioral/ Mental Health

Center issues statement about gun violence & racism in Atlanta

Written by Kim Thuy Seelinger, JD, director of the Center for Human Rights, Gender & Migration at the Institute for Public Health

Protestors host a vigil in Seattle following the deadly shootings at an Atlanta spa. Photo: David Ryder, Getty Images

We mourn this latest act of violence against the Asian American community, which has suffered both a long season of hostility and blame during the COVID-19 pandemic and a longer history of exclusion and suspicion in the United States. We also observe the specific and perennial precarity of too many Asian American women: invisible and conspicuous, infantilized and sexualized, desired and diminished.

Overwhelmingly Asian and overwhelmingly female, many of Tuesday’s victims were also immigrants and low-wage workers. The Center insists on a deeper examination of the complex, intersectional drivers of their massacre. We reject its attribution to “sex addiction” or a “bad day” and see instead the clear confluence of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny.

For this reason, the Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration calls upon our leaders at all levels — University-wide, state-wide, national — to interrogate and address these complexities when developing response to anti-Asian violence and racialized violence generally.

We call for sustained efforts to learn the distinct but connected histories of marginalized identities in the United States, to deepen mutual understanding and support in the fight for racial, gender and immigrant justice.

This week, though, we simply offer grief and solidarity.