In light of the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and Manuel Ellis, compiled upon the countless other Black lives lost at the hands of state-sanctioned violence, the world is experiencing an awakened civil rights movement declaring, “Black Lives Matter.”
As API’s, we know what it means to be unfairly targeted and discriminated against – but by any measure, black communities have experienced it first and worst. We know what it is to live with disparities in income, education, business opportunities and access to services – but black community gaps are still more astounding. When we center the issues confronting the black community in America, we confront systems of oppression that threaten the livelihood and well-being of everyone.
As members of diverse Asian and Pacific Islander communities, what has allyship meant to us? How have we shown up for each other in advocacy, while respecting the nuance of our distinct histories and experiences? How can we show up in support of black neighbors calling for visibility, solidarity and justice?
As allies, CAPAA staff and Commissioners commit ourselves to understanding how we personally benefit from and uphold systems of oppression and will have time at our upcoming board meeting for shared thought and discussion regarding current events. As community members, we commit to doing the difficult but necessary work of understanding white-skin and light-skin bias, anti-blackness, and racism in our own communities. And as a Commission, we commit to supporting and facilitating dialogue internally, in the API community, and with other racial groups via the Ethnic Commissions. As institutional actors, we recognize our role to educate, activate, and advocate for civil rights, social justice, and equal protection under the law.
CAPAA has launched an anti-blackness resource page on our website. Give it a look: https://capaa.wa.gov/combatting-anti-blackness/
We look forward to staying in close contact.