News & Updates

  • A year after Atlanta spa shootings, misogynistic racism still endangers Asian American women

    Posted by · March 14, 2022 10:25 AM

    by Sung Yeon Choimorrow

    Atlanta - Winter was heaving its last gasps that day. The air in Chicago hovered just above freezing as my family and I finished dinner. We had just put my daughter to bed when I saw a text from a friend with a news headline and a question: “Have you seen this?”

    I read as far as eight shooting victims before my eyes darted to the photo underneath: Sullen police officers and bright yellow tape surrounding the neon lights of Gold Spa. Immediately, I knew: An evening of quiet had turned into a day of infamy.

    A shooter in Atlanta had gone on a rampage at three massage parlors. One year ago this week, he murdered eight people – six of them Asian American women from China and Korea.

    As the head of a national organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls, I knew my colleagues and I had to act. Immediately, I went back and forth with our staff, especially those in Atlanta, to understand what our members needed. At the same time, we had to speak up for our community, so we released a statement. Before I knew it, I was caught in a whirlwind of media requests and coverage, giving more than 50 interviews in just four days.

    All the while, I dealt with the same conflux of emotions as millions of Asian American women. Rage and guilt. Grief and revulsion. Devastation for our community.

    We have been objectified for centuries

    American culture has hypersexualized and objectified Asian women as long as we’ve lived here.

    Afong Moy, the first recorded Chinese woman brought to the United States, was placed on exotic display. Our nation's first immigration law, the Page Act of 1875, stereotyped East Asian women as prostitutes to bar them from the country. The U.S. military involvement in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War exacerbated this prejudice, forcing many Asian women into sex work and perpetuating the racist, sexist mythos that Asian women are temptresses or sexual servants in the American consciousness.

    This sordid history has imposed upon Asian American women a dangerous present.

    Our organization just finished a first-of-its-kind survey of Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s safety. The results were damning: 74% of AAPI women say they experienced racism or discrimination in the previous 12 months. More than half identify a stranger as the perpetrator, and 47% report experiencing racism and discrimination in public space.

    We live at the intersection of racism and misogyny

    Asian American women are not just reviled for our race or for our gender. We are vilified for both – for the ways our race and gender intertwine and strengthen us.

    Yet in almost every interview I did after the Atlanta spa shootings, pundits and journalists were shocked when I highlighted the intersection of racism and misogyny. With the exception of Asian American women and some other female journalists, most reporters elided the fact that the intended targets weren’t just Asian people who happened to be women, or women who happened to be Asian: They were both.

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  • U.S. White Supremacist Propaganda Remained at Historic Levels in 2021, With 27 Percent Rise in Antisemitic Messaging

    Posted by · March 07, 2022 8:32 AM

    ADL - White supremacist propaganda, which allows extremist groups to disseminate hateful messages and gain attention with little risk of public exposure, has been on the rise for several years. In 2021, the overall numbers were down slightly, but paired with a 27 percent increase in antisemitic content and messaging.

    Since 2017, the ADL Center on Extremism has closely tracked white supremacist propaganda incidents including the use of racist and antisemitic fliers, stickers, banners and posters, as well as the use of stenciled graffiti.

    Propaganda campaigns let white supremacists maximize media and online attention while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash that often accompanies more public activities. By using propaganda to spread hate, a small number of people can have an outsized impact, giving the appearance of larger numbers and affecting entire communities.

    While propaganda numbers remain historically high, the 2021 data shows a five percent drop in incidents from the previous year, with a total of 4,851 cases reported, compared to 5,125 in 2020. Year over year, the number of propaganda incidents on college campuses dropped 23 percent, from 303 to 232, the lowest since ADL began tracking incidents in 2017.

    Despite the drop in overall incidents, 2021 saw a 27 percent increase of antisemitic propaganda distributions, rising from 277 incidents in 2020 to 352 incidents in 2021.

    The high number of antisemitic propaganda incidents have continued in 2022. In January and February, the virulently antisemitic Goyim Defense League dropped antisemitic leaflets on college campuses and across entire neighborhoods, with dozens of incidents reported in at least 15 states.

    In January-December 2021, propaganda was reported  in every state except Hawaii, with the highest levels of activity (from most to least active) in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland and New York. ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map provides a visual representation of the propaganda efforts by geographic location and can be used to track other specific trends.

    In 2021, white supremacists used propaganda to spread hate, promote themselves, attack their perceived enemies and present themselves as victims of an “anti-white” society. In some cases, they used current events to legitimize their hateful views. Shortly after the insurrection against the U.S. Capitol, white supremacists created propaganda pieces presenting January 6 insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as a martyr for their cause. Similarly, they threw their support behind Kyle Rittenhouse, creating propaganda claiming “Kyle was right.” And, in the wake of the deadly holiday parade attack in Waukesha, Wisconsin, white supremacists leveraged the tragedy by sowing racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories on the ground and online.

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  • Asian woman attacked last year in New York by man with rock has died, family says

    Posted by · March 01, 2022 11:44 AM

    CNN - The Asian woman who was attacked last year in Queens by a man with a rock died Monday, her family announced on a GoFundMe page dedicated to her.

    In November, GuiYing Ma, 61, was sweeping the sidewalk of an empty property in Jackson Heights when a man allegedly struck her in the head repeatedly with a large rock, injuring her face and head, police said at the time.
    A day after the attack, the New York Police Department arrested a 33-year-old man in connection with the crime. That man was later identified as Elisaul Perez.
    Perez faces three felony charges, including a charge of assault with intent to disfigure and dismember and a charge of assault with intent to seriously injure someone with a weapon. He also faces a charge of criminal possession of a weapon.
    Perez is scheduled to appear in court on April 12 for another hearing. Queens Law Associates' Attorney David Strachan, who represents Perez, declined to comment.
    Yihung Hsieh, the owner of the Jackson Heights property, set up a GoFundMe page to help cover Ma's medical expenses from the attack. He told CNN Ma had to have surgery to relieve pressure on her brain.
    Ma died at 9:29 p.m. on February 22 at NYC Health & Hospitals/Elmhurst due to complications from blunt impact head injury, Hsieh said in a post on the GoFundMe.
    "The attack permanently damaged the right side of Mrs. Ma's brain. But the love between Mrs. Ma and her husband Mr. Zhanxin Gao remained," a statement on the GoFundMe page read.
    In early February -- about 10 weeks after the attack -- Ma woke up from her coma, the GoFundMe said. She was "able to raise her hand in response to Mr. Gao even though she could not speak still."
    When she woke up, Ma was able to move her right arm and right leg, CNN affiliate WABC reported.
    The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force was investigating the crime in November. CNN has reached out to the NYPD Monday for the latest on that investigation.
    The NYPD created an Asian Hate Crime Task Force after an increase in attacks on Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Between March 19, 2020, and September 30, 2021, 10,370 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander people across the nation were reported to Stop Hate AAPI, a center that tracks reports of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans.
  • Anti-Asian hate crimes increased 339 percent nationwide last year

    Posted by · February 22, 2022 7:48 AM

    The report also points out that Black Americans remained the most targeted group in terms of hate crimes.

    NBC - New research finds that hate crimes targeting the Asian American community have reached some unprecedented levels. 

    The compilation of hate crime data, published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339 percent last year compared to the year before, with New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities surpassing their record numbers in 2020.

    The significant surge is part of an overall 11 percent increase in suspected hate crimes reported to police across a dozen of America’s largest cities. 

    The report also found that Black Americans remained the most targeted group across most cities. In New York, the Jewish community reported the most hate crimes last year, with researchers, in part, linking increases to the three-week Gaza War in May. In Chicago, gay men were the most targeted. In terms of location, Los Angeles “recorded the most hate crimes of any U.S. city this century” in 2021 alone, with New York coming in just behind it. 

    John C. Yang, the president and executive director of the nonprofit civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC, said that as the Asian American community weathers pandemic-fueled racism, the data prove that other groups deal with their own forms of hate, stressing that in times like this, “solidarity benefits us all.” 

    “We must bring attention to the hate that impacts all communities,” Yang said. “The support of our allies representing diverse communities of color and diverse faith communities has meant a great deal as our Asian American communities have been under attack. All of our diverse communities, including LGBTQ+ communities, have experienced hate, and there is a profound but tragic solidarity in that.”

    According to the data, the surge in reported anti-Asian hate crimes is significantly higher than it was in 2020, when they increased by 124 percent compared to the year before. New York City had a particularly drastic rise, from 30 to 133 anti-Asian hate crimes, a 343 percent increase. San Francisco also experienced an alarming jump, from nine to 60 crimes, a 567 percent increase. And Los Angeles had a similarly sizable hike of 173 percent. 

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  • The Growing Anti-Democratic Threat of Christian Nationalism in the U.S.

    Posted by · February 17, 2022 10:07 AM

    Time -On January 6th, 2021, insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in order to “Stop the Steal” and delay the certification of President-elect Biden’s electoral college victory. Christian flags, crosses on t-shirts, “Jesus Saves” signs, and prayers for victory in Jesus’ name were now-famously conspicuous among the mob.

    By early April, the Brennan Center for Justice reported that lawmakers in 47 states proposed over 350 bills that claim to address voter fraud by limiting mail, early in-person, and Election Day voting through stricter ID requirements, limiting eligibility to vote absentee, or fewer voting hours. The recent bills signed into law by Governors Brian Kemp in Georgia and Ron DeSantis in Florida are just two examples. A similar bill is currently making its way through the Texas State Legislature.

    For all their rhetoric of ensuring “fair elections” and claims of “proven voter fraud,” one might believe that these Americans, the insurrectionists and lawmakers and the millions who support their efforts, are driven by an abiding passion for democracy.

    But that’s not what the data tell us. Or history.

    ...

    The relationship between Christian nationalism and anti-democratic attitudes has a long history in this country. Limiting access to voting and employing violence in order to disrupt the democratic process are not aberrations. After the Civil War and throughout the years of Jim Crow, Christian leaders routinely provided the theological arguments needed to rationalize limiting Black Americans’ access to participation in the democratic process. They explicitly tied these efforts to their desire to protect the purity of a “Christian” nation.

    Consider the most infamous articulation of Christian nationalism’s anti-democratic goals from Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Moral Majority. In an oft-repeated 1980 speech to a group of evangelical leaders, Weyrich explained:

    “Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome―good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

    Even then Weyrich was aware that a democracy with free and open elections threatened the likelihood of white, culturally conservative Christians maintaining privileged access to the levers of power. The takeaway was obvious: make it more difficult for the political opposition―non-conservatives, but implicitly racial and ethnic minorities―to vote.

    Weyrich took his own advice. He and others worked to create organizations intent on bringing Christian nationalism’s anti-democratic impulses into reality. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—also co-founded by Weyrich in 1973—is one example. To this day ALEC supports restrictive voter policies that disproportionately affect people of color: strict voter ID laws, automated purging of registration lists, limiting mail-in or early voting, or slashing the number of polling places.

    So if the voting restrictions put into place by the lawmakers in Georgia, Florida, and Texas sound familiar, they should. History might not repeat itself but it certainly does rhyme.

    In order to understand what led to the deadly Capitol insurrection and the spate of proposed voting laws we must account for the influence of Christian nationalism, a political theology that fuses American identity with an ultra-conservative strain of Christianity. But this Christianity is something more than the orthodox Christianity of ancient creeds; it is more of an ethnic Christian-ism. In its most extreme form it legitimizes the type of violence we saw on Jan. 6 and the recent flood of voting restrictions. Violence and legislation not in service of democracy, but instead for fundamentally anti-democratic goals.

    The threat of Christian nationalism is buried within the seemingly harmless language of “heritage,” “culture,” and “values.” But within this language is an implicit understanding of civic belonging and relative worth. Study after study shows Christian nationalism is strongly associated with attitudes concerning proper social hierarchies by religion, race, and nativity. These views naturally extend to whom Americans think should have the right to participate in the political process and whether everyone should have equal access to voting.

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  • January 6th May Have Been Only the First Wave of Christian Nationalist Violence

    Posted by · February 14, 2022 8:32 AM

    Time - A year after the horrifying violence at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, a simple partisan storyline crowds out a central driver behind the events. Most media are understandably tracking the January 6 Committee and Trump’s Republican accomplices, and many pollsters have focused on the growing partisan divides regarding Trump’s role in the events or whether rioters should be prosecuted.

    Largely forgotten—unless we look back at countless photos and footage of the violence—are the Christian banners and flags, the wooden crosses, the impromptu praise and worship sessions, the “Jesus Saves” signs, the Christian t-shirts, and the infamous corporate prayer in Jesus name in the Senate Chamber. Having stormed the sanctum of American democracy, the “QAnon Shaman” thanked God for “filling this chamber with patriots that love you and that love Christ,” allowing them to send a message to their enemies “that this is our nation not theirs.”

    We are forgetting that January 6th was very much a religious event—white Christian nationalism on display. We must remember that fact. Because evidence is mounting that white Christian nationalism could provide the theological cover for more events like it.

    For several years we’ve measured Christian nationalist ideology by asking Americans a series of questions like whether they believe the government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation, or whether they reject the separation of church and state, or whether they think America’s success is part of God’s plan. We call those who score roughly in the top 20% of our scale “Ambassadors” of Christian nationalism. They are the true believers. That is around 30 million adults. And our recent findings suggest they’re growing more accepting of the insurrection on January 6th.

    In February 2021, we asked Americans for their thoughts about the Capitol riots. Then we queried those same Americans seven months later in August to see how their views shifted. Within that time, the percentage of white Ambassadors who felt the rioters should be prosecuted dropped over 22 points from 76.3% to 54.2%. Even more striking, the percentage of white Ambassadors who said they stood on the side of the rioters doubled from 13.6% to over 27%.

    Why did these white Christian nationalists start to identify more with the rioters? Our August 2021 survey suggests several reasons. First is loyalty to Trump. Nearly 92% of white Ambassadors voted for him in 2020. And compared to roughly 36% of Americans who believe the Presidential election was stolen from Trump, nearly 2.5 times that percentage of white Ambassadors (86%) held this view in August.

    But why are they still so convinced the election was a sham? In several studies we and other scholars have shown that Christian nationalism seems to incline white Americans toward baseless conspiracy theories. For example, in our August 2021 data we find that half of white Ambassadors believe falsely that the COVID-19 vaccines have themselves killed hundreds of people. And less than one third were willing to reject the outrageous QAnon conspiracy about government elites running a Satan-worshipping, pedophile, sex-trafficking ring.

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  • Further Anti-LGBTQ Entrenchment

    Posted by · February 07, 2022 8:36 AM

    SPLC - Anti-LGBTQ groups on the SPLC hate list often link being LGBTQ to pedophilia, claim that marriage equality and LGBTQ people, in general, are dangers to children, that being LGBTQ itself is dangerous, support the criminalization of LGBTQ people and transgender identity, and that there is a conspiracy called the “homosexual agenda” at work that seeks to destroy Christianity and the whole of society.

    Viewing being LGBTQ as unbiblical or simply opposing marriage equality does not qualify an organization to be listed as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

    Anti-LGBTQ groups primarily consist of Christian Right groups but also include organizations like National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) that purport to be scientific. Anti-LGBTQ groups in America have employed a variety of strategies in their efforts to oppose LGBTQ rights, including defamation. Many leaders and spokespeople of anti-LGBTQ groups have engaged in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBTQ people as "perverts" with "filthy habits" who seek to "convert" or “recruit” the children of straight parents into a “homosexual lifestyle.”

    Others link being LGBTQ to pedophilia and claim that LGBTQ people are threats to home and society. Others disseminate disparaging "facts" about LGBTQ people that are simply untrue — an approach no different to how white supremacists and nativist extremists propagate lies about black people and immigrants to make these communities seem like a danger to society.

    More recently, hardline anti-LGBTQ groups have promoted “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” legislation and legal challenges to justify anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

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  • Unclassified - Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021

    Posted by · February 03, 2022 8:22 AM

    (U) Executive Summary


    (U) The IC assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021. Enduring DVE motivations pertaining to biases against minority populations and perceived government overreach will almost certainly continue to drive DVE radicalization and mobilization to violence. Newer sociopolitical developmentssuch as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the US Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violencewill almost certainly spur some DVEs to try to engage in violence this year.


    (U) The IC assesses that lone offenders or small cells of DVEs adhering to a diverse set of violent extremist ideologies are more likely to carry out violent attacks in the Homeland than organizations that allegedly advocate a DVE ideology. DVE attackers often radicalize independently by consuming violent extremist material online and mobilize without direction from a violent extremist organization, making detection and disruption difficult.


    (U) The IC assesses that racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs) present the most lethal DVE threats, with RMVEs most likely to conduct mass-casualty attacks against civilians and MVEs typically targeting law enforcement and government personnel and facilities. The IC assesses that the MVE threat increased last year and that it will almost certainly continue to be elevated throughout 2021 because of contentious sociopolitical factors that motivate MVEs to commit violence.


    (U) The IC assesses that US RMVEs who promote the superiority of the white race are the DVE actors with the most persistent and concerning transnational connections because individuals with similar ideological beliefs exist outside of the United States and these RMVEs frequently communicate with and seek to influence each other. We assess that a small number of US RMVEs have traveled abroad to network with like-minded individuals.

    (U) The IC assesses that DVEs exploit a variety of popular social media platforms, smaller websites with targeted audiences, and encrypted chat applications to recruit new adherents, plan and rally support for in-person actions, and disseminate materials that contribute to radicalization and mobilization to violence.

    (U) The IC assesses that several factors could increase the likelihood or lethality of DVE attacks in 2021 and beyond, including escalating support from persons in the United States or abroad, growing perceptions of government overreach related to legal or policy changes and disruptions, and high-profile attacks spurring follow-on attacks and innovations in targeting and attack tactics.


    (U) DVE lone offenders will continue to pose significant detection and disruption challenges because of their capacity for independent radicalization to violence, ability to mobilize discretely, and access to firearms
    .

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  • Happy Lunar New Year - Year of the Tiger

    Posted by · February 01, 2022 8:53 AM

    The Tiger represents courage, daring, justice, and helping others. Traits we should all strive for.

  • Larger Majority Says Racism Against Black People Widespread

    Posted by · January 27, 2022 8:57 AM

    Gallup - Gallup's 2021 update on minority rights and relations finds that an increasing percentage of U.S. adults believe racism against Black people is widespread in the United States. Relatedly, Americans' satisfaction with the treatment of Black people remains near its historical low.

    At the same time, more Americans than a year ago believe civil rights for Black people in the U.S. have improved in their lifetimes, though the 69% holding this view remains lower than Gallup's pre-2020 readings. A majority of Americans believe Black people are treated less fairly by police in their community than White people are, but most do not believe Black people are treated less fairly in other situations.

    Americans Increasingly Perceive Widespread Racism in U.S.

    Sixty-four percent of Americans believe racism against Black people is widespread in the U.S., a slight, but not statistically meaningful, increase from 2016 (61%). It is the highest in the trend of five total readings since 2008, the three most recent of which are 60% or higher.

    Non-Hispanic Black (84%) and Hispanic (72%) respondents are more likely than U.S. adults, generally, to say racism is widespread. Non-Hispanic White respondents (59%) are less likely to believe it is.

    The results are based on a June 1-July 5 Gallup survey that included oversamples of Black and Hispanic adults to allow for more precise estimates of those subgroups. The overall sample was weighted so all racial and ethnic groups were represented in their proper proportions of the U.S. population.

    Americans became more likely in 2015 than they were in the prior measure, in 2009, to say racism against Black people is widespread. This was after several high-profile incidents in which Black people were killed in encounters with police officers. The percentage believing racism is widespread reached 60% that year and has stayed above that level since, with modest increases in the 2016 and 2021 surveys. Gallup did not ask this question in 2020, so it is not clear if perceptions of racism were higher in the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd killing and news reports of racism toward Black people in everyday situations, including a man birdwatching in Central Park and a family using a hotel's swimming pool.

    In addition to the racial group differences, there is a wide partisan gap in perceptions that racism is widespread, with 91% of Democrats, compared with 34% of Republicans and 62% of independents, believing it is.

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