SRA Statement on Violence towards Asian Americans along with Helpful Resources

Soon Chung Park. Hyun Jung Grant. Suncha Kim. Yong Yue. Delaina Ashley Yaun. Paul Andre Michels. Xiaojie Tan. Daoyou Feng. 

The Society for Research on Adolescence extends our sympathies and support for our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in Atlanta and nationwide after 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian American women, were murdered in Georgia on March 16, 2021. We grieve for the victims and their families. We hear our AAPI children, family and colleagues in pain, fear, anger, sadness, exhaustion, and so much more. SRA stands with you.    

This latest tragedy highlights yet again the disproportionate impact that racism, sexism, and economic vulnerability have on adolescents and communities of color. We recognize this—not as an isolated incident of anti-Asian hate or violence—but a longstanding trend and history of white supremacy that juxtaposes Asians in America as the “model minority” who are successful and do not encounter racism, while simultaneously “yellow perils” who are a threat to “American” values and families (Lee, E., 2015; Wu, 2000). We recognize the violence toward Asian American women in particular are at the intersections of racial and gender oppressions as Asian American women have been hypersexualized well before the Page Act of 1875 (Espiritu, 1992Lee, R.G., 1999). We understand that history matters and words matter -- they shape the complicated, multidimensional, intergenerational racial trauma that is racism-related stress experienced daily by our youth of color and their families (Harrell, 2000).   

For the first time in over three decades and two days after the tragedy in Atlanta, Americans heard congressional testimony about the pain and suffering caused by racism and xenophobia directed at Asian Americans. From spitting, shooting, slashing and being set aflame, AAPI communities have endured approximately 4,000 known (although likely underreported) incidents of hateful behavior over the past year (Stop AAPI Hate National Report, 2021). Of note, AAPI women were two times more likely to report hate crimes than men, and youths (0 to 17 years-old) reported 12.6% of incidents.  Anti-Asian hate crimes surged 149% in the US, while overall hate crime dropped 7% in 2020 in comparison to the previous year (Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, 2021). A recent study has documented that anti-Asian sentiment increased following the past administration’s use of derogatory language since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Without a doubt, these events are meant to scapegoat the Asian American community for the COVID-19 pandemic. Hateful acts rooted in COVID-19 scapegoating are not only harmful (Cheah et al., 2020; Wakabayashi et al., 2020) but are exacerbated by the suffering, loss, and separation brought on by the pandemic.  

We know that youth encountered anti-Asian racism before the pandemic, and this has only become more pronounced since then (Cheah et al., 2020). These experiences can cause long-term damage to the health and well-being of AAPI youth (Arora et al., 2020Choi et al., 2020). Let us be clear: racism or white supremacy have deep roots in U.S. history, and these anti-Asian realities predate the current pandemic. Moreover, our history reminds us that white supremacy and anti-Asian racism knows no national boundaries. For instance, we similarly saw a rise of anti-Asian racism in the United Kingdom last year (Clements, 2021). 

As a professional society dedicated to the safety, health, and well-being of all adolescents around the globe, we support and stand in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. We are committed to addressing anti-Asian racism specifically and recognize that Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other minoritized communities also face continued violence. As a Society, we vow to dismantle the white supremacy in our organization, research and clinical practice with adolescents, and the larger society. More attention needs to be paid to how adolescents and society writ large can develop more cross-racial solidarity and work together to take down systems of oppression. At SRA, we will create space for discussions on anti-Asian racism in our upcoming events focusing on supporting adolescents and their families . We call for institutions to invest in culture, language, mental health and race specific support for the AAPI community. We offer these following resources for adolescents, families, researchers, policy makers, clinicians, and others working with adolescents to learn more about the history of anti-Asian violence and racism, community organizations, and mental health supports to act now and support those around you. 

Stop Anti-Asian Racism - Resource List

Table of Contents:

  1. Information on Anti-Asian Violence
  2. Resources for Teens and Caregivers
  3. Resources for Educators
  4. Community Organizations and Resources
  5. Mental Health and Wellness Resources