Soon Chung Park
Hyun Jung Grant
Yong Ae Yue
Delaina Ashley Yaun
Paul Andre Michels
These are the names of the eight people who were senselessly killed at three Atlanta-area spas on Tuesday night. My heart aches for these lives cut short so brutally. My deepest condolences extend to their loved ones. My support and solidarity are with our Asian siblings.
While any life lost should be mourned, we must recognize deeper implications beyond what some may perceive as an isolated incident. Of the eight people killed, six were Asian women. While there may be hesitation to label this as a hate crime, it is critical that we consider the context of these murders. Anti-Asian sentiment has heightened over the past year, accompanied by a wave of attacks against the community across the country. Our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) siblings have consistently expressed their concerns about safety, and their fears, anger, and devastation must be taken seriously.
Tuesday night’s murders also remind us that rhetoric is powerful. The rise in anti-Asian sentiment and violence directly correlates with false and racist claims of the community’s responsibility for COVID-19. Words have power, and we have witnessed countless times how they can drive the most heinous acts.
As I reflect on my identity as a Black woman in this moment, I know that none of this is new. The virus of white supremacy has been urgent in this country for centuries, and anti-Asian sentiments are a racist symptom. I hear our Asian siblings’ pain and outrage as they remind us of the neglect and disregard that they have frequently felt in this country, and in the racial justice movement. We must always work towards a world where everyone is safe and thriving. I know that I have a responsibility to be an ally in solidarity with the AAPI community, because none of us are free until all of us are free.
As I reflect on the Service Never Sleeps’ (SNS) role in this moment, I am reminded that the organization’s responsibilities are not solely truth-telling and training, but instilling accountability in our team and our participants to take action based on our learnings. In our trainings, we teach that Allyship actions should involve centering those who are experiencing injustice in areas where we are not, doing our own self work, and influencing others. As a Black-led organization, we are deeply committed to Allyship in solidarity with our AAPI siblings both in this moment and beyond; and we will be holding ourselves accountable to apply the Allyship principles to our own efforts. We urge our larger SNS community to join us in doing the same.
I often say that moments like this show us who we are, who we should be, and who we will be. My hope is that the deep disturbance, outrage and compassion that many of us feel in this moment is accompanied by a conviction to commit to the work even more deeply, as we continue this active pursuit of liberation together.
Founder & CEO