Since the pandemic began, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have faced increased violence and racism. This heinous trend was fueled by anti-Asian rhetoric and baseless claims by many who labeled COVID-19 a “Chinese virus.” Nearly a year later, hate crimes and attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have only escalated, with 2,808 anti-Asian American hate incidents documented across the country.
Recent attacks against Asian individuals in the Bay Area reinforce the fact that even in a region often viewed as inclusive or at the very least tolerant, we are not immune to the dangerous biases and prejudices that pervade our society. SVCF strongly condemns all forms of racism and stands in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities during these unsettling times.
Last year, SVCF signed an open letter authored by Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) to address the rise of anti-Asian racism and violence amid the pandemic. The murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests propelled us to lean even further into our racial justice work. In partnership with the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley, we launched a pledge that called for local funders to re-center their focus on communities of color. We are raising funds for – and awareness of – organizations fighting for racial equity and social justice. We are highlighting the voices of local leaders of color and we continue to drive much-needed philanthropic resources to those facing layers of challenges – racial injustice, financial insecurity and disproportionate susceptibility to the pandemic, to name a few.
This week, in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, we reaffirm our commitment to the pursuit of racial and social justice. We have joined other Bay Area philanthropic leaders in issuing a statement that not only condemns anti-Asian racism but calls for philanthropic funders to address the fundamental inequities that are built into systems that reinforce institutionalized racism.
With all the progress that was made in the last year, we refuse to let these recent, horrifying incidents of hate discourage or deter us. We have always understood that it takes unwavering tenacity to dismantle racist systems that for hundreds of years have disadvantaged and marginalized people of color. We are in this for the long haul, committed to fostering healing and change within our communities through our advocacy, policy and grantmaking work.
Finally, I urge each one of us to search our souls for truths about how we as individuals are moving through the world. How are we addressing our common humanity? How are we taking responsibility for how we treat our fellow human beings? In addition to working to hold others accountable for their actions, we must each rise above our implicit biases and any prejudices we harbor so we can at last deal with the racism that exists in this country.