March 9, 2021
Over the past twelve months, there has been a dramatic increase in hate crimes and violence perpetrated against individuals of Asian & Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritages across the country. Fueled by misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, political rhetoric, and a history of anti-Asian racist violence, these incidents have skyrocketed, increasing by over 150% in major cities. Stop AAPI Hate reported over 2,583 anti-Asian hate crimes between March and August of last year alone, and these incidents are historically grossly underreported.
Violence has continued in recent weeks with multiple attacks against Asian businesses and individuals, many of them elderly, including the horrific murder of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old man, in San Francisco, and the subsequent diminishment of the crime by the local district attorney. Many of these incidents have received very limited coverage in mainstream media.
As our work as an aspiring anti-racist organization continues, Freire Schools condemns this racist rhetoric and violence and stands in solidarity with our Asian and Pacific Islander staff, students, and families. We see the burden you carry of hearing about this violence, seeing it minimized or dismissed in our society, and experiencing racism directly. And we acknowledge that our own anti-racism work needs to be broader, to support all community members experiencing racism. We commit to act in our school communities to address racism in all its forms and work alongside our Freire Family members in this quest for justice.
It is important that our work for justice extends beyond our staff dialogue to our students as well. Leaders across the network have created student-facing materials to learn about these hate crimes and take personal steps to eradicate bullying and racism from our school communities.
We challenge all of us to support, collaborate, and act in support of our Asian and Pacific Islander community to bring justice to our schools, our communities, and our world.
Stay safe, stay connected, stand together.