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A message from SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton


A message from SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton

To our community,

I am writing to call out a disturbing trend that has surfaced and should concern us all. More than a year into the pandemic, attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are still occurring at a disproportionately high rate. This trend began, ostensibly as a backlash over COVID-19. However, it appears more that the attacks are by racists using COVID as an ignorant excuse to foment hate and lash out at innocent people.

Regardless of motive, the incidents of AAPI people being harassed, attacked and even murdered across our country are horrific, and they should frighten us all. Even here in our own community there are incidents of gruesome assaults on AAPI individuals. In just the past few weeks, a couple walking together in the Chinatown – International District were brutally assaulted and hospitalized after an unprovoked attack, an attacker threatened an Asian couple with a pellet pistol in front of a bank on a main thoroughfare in West Seattle, and a woman in a crosswalk on Capitol Hill was violently shoved, and had the wind knocked out of her. The attackers were strangers, making statements that indicated they were acting solely on the victims’ race.

There have been many more instances. It is all too commonplace for people at the grocery store, out walking their dog, waiting for a bus or operating their business to be verbally assaulted or worse. Many are elders. All are deserving a safe environment free of intimidation and threats.

Often these hate crimes go unreported, and there is little news coverage. But many brave victims are speaking out in other ways, in the hope of shedding light on what is happening and the fear they are living with as they go about their lives. We too can contribute to fighting these cowardly acts. We should acknowledge what is happening and speak out too. We should intervene by calling 9-1-1 immediately if an attack is physical and by contacting the Seattle Office of Civil Rights Bias Reporting website if we witness slurs, intimidation or other forms of bias.

Supporting our AAPI colleagues and community who are experiencing heightened attacks as a result of coronavirus does not diminish our recognition of longstanding and ongoing racist and hateful behavior toward others as well for their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability and more. Supporting our AAPI community members is, in fact, living race and social justice values. No matter who is targeted or doing the targeting, racism and hate should have no place in our communities.

SHA does not tolerate bullying, harassment or racist behavior, and we ask our whole SHA community to come together to take a stand to show that we don’t tolerate it for anyone.

Thank you for helping to make SHA a safe place, and our communities safer for everyone.