NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety, and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, today released statements to mark the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, both recognizing the impact of recent gun violence and hate motivated violence on the AAPI community.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in violence against the AAPI community at large, and particularly against AAPI women. The mass shootings around Atlanta, where nine people were shot, including six Asian women who were killed, and in Indianapolis, where eight people were shot and killed with at least four of them being members of the Sikh community, only show a fraction of the violence experienced in the AAPI community this year.
Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents from March 2020 to February 2021. Police departments in the 16 largest cities in the United States reported a nearly 150% increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in 2020, and nationally, Asian American women were more than twice as likely to be targeted in hate incidents as Asian American men.
“This year has given the world a small glimpse into the vitriolic hate that the AAPI community has faced for years,” said Becky George, Senior Advisor for External Engagement and Programs at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Stopping AAPI hate will take more than legislation, but federal action on gun safety is a critical step to disarm hate and save lives in our community right now. During AAPI Heritage month, we must honor the work and dedication of AAPI leaders, activists, and survivors across the country with action.”
“How many stories do we need to see about hate motivated violence and gun violence before our leaders take action on gun safety legislation?” said Seo Yoon
“Yoonie” Yang, a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board in Tennessee. “Asian American women have been the target of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny for generations. And, this hatred only gets more deadly when it’s paired with easy access to firearms. It’s time for the Senate to take up gun safety legislation to keep our communities safe.”
Gun violence in the AAPI community includes more than hate motivated violence. In fact, AAPI youth have the fastest growing firearm suicide rate of any racial or ethnic group with a 71 percent increase over the last decade.
This May, Everytown is honoring AAPI survivors and recognizing the importance of AAPI leadership, advocacy, and resilience in the gun violence prevention movement — and is calling on policymakers at every level to prioritize ending our nation’s gun violence epidemic and taking action on hate motivated violence.
To speak with a policy expert, Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.