Statements by AFT Asian American and Pacific Islander Task Force and AFT President Randi Weingarten on California Mass Shootings
WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers’ Asian American and Pacific Islander Task Force and AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statements on the recent mass shootings in California:
The AFT AAPI Task Force said:
“The AFT Asian American and Pacific Islander Task Force is deeply saddened by the two recent mass killings in California. On Jan. 21, 11 people were killed and nine were wounded when a gunman opened fire in a crowded dance hall during a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park. Two days later, a gunman opened fire at a farm in Half Moon Bay, killing seven farmworkers, as nearby children watched in terror. Both the assailants and the majority of the victims were Asian American.
“These tragedies, while not racially motivated hate crimes themselves, have caused extreme suffering and fear within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, which has witnessed a large upsurge in racially motivated hate. The Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission recently released a report documenting a 67 percent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes over the past year, and the highest number of anti-Asian hate crimes ever recorded since the documentation began more than 40 years ago.
“The report also reveals a troubling correlation between the rise in Asian American hate crimes and the racist and false narrative that Asians or Asian Americans are to blame for COVID-19. In addition, the report reveals a correlation between the rise in Asian American hate crimes and the rise in anti-immigrant hysteria.
“The AFT AAPI Task Force stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We are unequivocally opposed to racism and anti-immigrant policies. And we stand united in our opposition to gun violence.
“No one in any community in any state is free from the threat of gun violence. Our schools throughout the country have been the targets of horrendous mass shootings. There are more guns in the United States than people, and every mass killing is followed by an increase in gun sales. Corporations are profiting off gun violence, and Congress has failed miserably in passing comprehensive gun legislation that would help to curb this madness.
“The AFT AAPI Task Force has a special obligation to reach out to our teachers, education workers and students to oppose all racially motivated hate and violence, and to demand commonsense gun control legislation. The urgency of the situation demands we must pass a federal ban on assault rifles and weapons of war. And we must challenge the tyranny of the National Rifle Association and the gun and weapons manufacturers that profit from death and suffering.
“The AFT AAPI Task Force will host a national town hall to address these recent tragedies and what we can do to advance peace, justice and healing.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said:
“I am so proud of the AFT AAPI Task Force for standing up and refusing to let the AAPI community be invisible or unheard. We join with our task force and the AAPI community to combat the escalation of hate, and we will redouble our efforts to begin the process of healing so we can find solutions to end the scourge of gun violence and create a more peaceful and just future for all Americans.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.