Members of Asian American and Pacific Islander American communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington are speaking out against racism and sexism in the aftermath of last week’s deadly shootings in Atlanta.
They held a rally outside Revolution Hall in southeast Portland on Tuesday morning. Eight people were killed in the Atlanta shootings, including six women of Asian descent.
The group called on all Americans to learn the names of the victims as a way to show their live were valued. Those killed were Hyun Jung Grant, 51, Soon Chung Park, 74, Suncha Kim, 69, Yong Ae Yue, 63, Xiaojie Tan, 49, Daoyou Feng, 44, Paul Andre Michels, 54, and Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33.
Oregon business owner Christine Chin Ryan believes the attacks and growing racism are part of Donald Trump’s legacy.
“There’s no denying that what happened in Atlanta … was fueled by the relentless scapegoating used by former President Donald Trump and his administration during the course of the pandemic,” she said. She said Trump spent four years in office fanning bigotry, violence, white supremacy and deep-seated structural racism.
The also asked people to support the HR8 Background Checks Act, which would create a background check system for gun sales between private sellers, and called on local leaders to support culturally specific mental health resources.
“Our communities are afraid to be out on the streets. Our elders are scared to go to get their groceries and our parents are afraid to bring their children to school,” said Côi Vũ, the director of the Pacific Islander and Asian Family Center.
Attendees also pushed the hashtag #LearnOurNames, asking people to value Asian names.
“Devaluing the names and lengthy history of Asians in the United States is an act of erasure,” the groups gathered Tuesday said in a press statement. “It denes the foundational contributions of Asian Americans. We want the respect to articulate our names out loud.”