Asian/Pacific American Network (APAN)
Letter of Solidarity April 2021
To the African American Network from APAN
Dear colleagues of AAN and the larger African American community of Foothill College:
As members of the Asian Pacific American Network (APAN), we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the African American Network (AAN) for being proactive, compassionate, and unyielding in denouncing the surge in anti-Asian violence over the last year. We agree that hate crimes towards African American and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) communities are destructive symptoms of a system rooted in white supremacy. Your expression of support accurately encapsulates our anger and sorrow due to the hateful violence towards our elders and community.
At the same time, we acknowledge and are horrified by the continued acts of police violence against the African American community. We mourn the recent killings of Makiyah Bryant and Daunte Wright. We have also been reliving the traumatic murder of George Floyd almost one year ago as we witnessed Derek Chauvin’s defense team’s blatant failure to address implicit biases, stereotypes, and systemic racism in the courtroom, while they simultaneously blamed the victim for his own death. And while we recognize the significance of the guilty verdict on all three charges, this verdict alone does not mitigate the injustice of George Floyd's death. Each African American life that has been taken at the hands of police officers and anyone else propelled by racism is one life too many — Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Daniel Prude, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Rayshard Brooks, Stephon Clark, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Botham Jean. These are constant reminders of the foundation of racism and white supremacy on which our country is built, especially at the cost of countless African American lives. There is still much work to be done in the ongoing fight for systemic change and racial justice for African American communities.
We share an understanding that African American and APIDA communities in the U.S. have each been subjected to state-sanctioned racialization that is continuously used to justify our abuse. Yet while each group has experienced institutionalized racism in wildly different forms, national rhetorics — the same ones that posit Asians as the “model minority” on one hand, and the “yellow peril” on the other — have tragically conflated the logic of anti-Black racism and anti-Asian racism. We believe we must bear in mind that the logic of racism applied to each group is not the same. The belief that all groups face the same type of racism obscures the source of the racist thinking, and more detrimentally, it pits Asian and Black groups against one another as competitors for social status and safety. Indeed, this confusion has led to unfortunate hostility and distrust between our respective communities.
We acknowledge that anti-Blackness exists in APIDA communities due to this faulty logic. We commit to exposing its flaws in our own communities, and we stand in firm resistance to its propagation.
While it is crucial to see how racism plays out differently between our communities, it is equally important to understand that they are connected. We acknowledge that this interracial aggression has been allowed, and indeed systematically created by the state as a tacit means of preserving white power. We turn to the legacies of leaders like Kiilyu Nyasha, Bobby Seale, David Hilliard, and the many leaders of the Black Power Movement who reached out to work in solidarity, study, and struggle with Asian American communities, and in doing so, influenced the Asian American Movement and created the foundations for ongoing Black/Asian solidarity. We, too, remember leaders like Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs who have acknowledged that solidarity is essential if we are to take white supremacy to task.
In the midst of those that attempt to pit our communities against each other, we resist the tactics used to drive a wedge between the APIDA and African American communities, we amplify your calls to unite our voices to fight white supremacy, and we commit to working together to take meaningful steps toward dismantling systemic racism on our campus and beyond.
The members of the Asian Pacific American Network