The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community amid rising hate incidents and is committed to holding those responsible accountable. The AAPI peoples have been living in the United States for more than 160 years and have long been the target of racial animus and violence.
One of the most infamous acts of anti-Asian violence in last century occurred here in Detroit in 1982 with the brutal murder of Vincent Chin. As a direct result of the anti-Asian racist rhetoric coming from former President Trump since the beginning of the pandemic, these acts of racial hatred toward all Asian people have spiked 150 percent. These incidents ranged from verbal harassment and physical assault to civil-rights violations and online harassment.
The tragic shooting deaths of 8 people in Atlanta on March 16, 2021 – 6 of whom were AAPI and 7 of whom were women – is the most recent example of the multi-faceted ways in which race, gender, class, and the continued hyper-sexualization and dehumanization of Asian women led a racist white man who is blaming “sex addiction” for his motive to kill these women.
Asian American women have historically been victimized by the dual sources of violence borne of both racism and sexism, as certain men fetishize AAPI women, seeing them as submissive, exotic, and sexually available. Nearly 70% of the 3,800 hate crimes reported in 2020 were directed toward women.
While MCHR does not deny that sex addiction is a serious mental illness in this country that must be addressed, there is no denying that whatever this killer’s full range of motivations were, anti-AAPI racial hatred was indisputably at the core of how he selected his victims.
With the rise of overtly racist anti-AAPI attacks across the country – and the fact of their underreporting — it is imperative that we stand in solidarity with our Asian sisters and brothers, to call out this hateful violence for what it is: racism pure and simple.
What is needed is addressing the root cause of the violence which requires more education, more expanded civil rights protections and more restorative justice models, allowing for a more holistic approach to combating racism against Asian Americans in public streets, transit, private businesses and other settings. The only way out of the vicious cycle of violence is through deep, unrelenting, and principled inter-community solidarity.
MCHR calls on our members and coalition partners to join with us in taking the following steps:
MCHR stands with the Asian American community and seeks to do the work needed to end hate and injustice for all people.
Long-time MCHR board member Abayomi Azikiwe has been named as the 2021 recipient of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Bishop H. Coleman McGehee Champion of Justice Award. Abayomi, who joined the MCHR Board of Directors in 2006, is an author, a journalist, editor of the Pan-African News Wire and one of the Detroit area’s most well-known human rights activists and commentators.
In receiving the award at MCHR’s recent 2021 Founders’ Day celebration (an online event), Abayomi accepted the award and delivered the following remarks:
“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this year’s Bishop H. Coleman McGehee Champion of Justice Award from the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.
During the early months of 2006, some 16 years ago, I was asked by Dr. Gloria House, who is also a speaker for this event, to join the Board of Directors of MCHR…”
Click here to view full text of Abayomi’s statement.
January 6, 2021 marked one of the darkest days in American history. A group of misled Americans inspired and incentivized by virulent toxic and deceptive rhetoric, waged war against their own country, specifically by occupying and vandalizing the National Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Civil dissent gave way to sedition, as the mob stormed the Capitol Building and proceeded to violently destroy a symbol of our nation’s fabric, under their banners of distorted patriotism, avowing to replace the rule of law and true democracy with an alternately imposed system guaranteeing exclusive rights to a privileged white supremacy segment of our citizenry.
The mob was encouraged and enticed by some of the very same people entrusted to represent and protect our American values and way of life. It is neither a coincidence nor a surprise that our public discourse has become combative, even conspiratorial. If our so-called “leaders” and guardians of democracy hold our values of discourse in contempt, we cannot be shocked when people respond voluntarily and violently.
Click here to read the full MCHR statement.
Saeed Khan, a long-time MCHR board member and senior lecturer in Near Eastern and Asian Studies at Wayne State University, and Robert Bruttell, professor of religious studies and history at University of Detroit Mercy, have teamed-up to create a podcast series sponsored by the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit (IFLC). The podcast series,”Faith and Works,” will feature Detroit area experts representing various interfaith perspectives discussing community values in American society.
To read an Oakland Press report on the “Faith and Works” podcasts, click here.
To hear the “Faith and Works” podcasts, go to detroitinterfaithcouncil.com/metro-detroit-faith-community/faith-works-podcast.
Frank Hammer, MCHR’s global social justice warrior, was recently quoted in a report published by Avisan Denmark, a leading Danish newspaper. The article, which also cited Kelly Eubank of the Sunrise Movement, examined the importance and impact of a Biden presidency on the Green New Deal and the climate crisis.
To read the article click here.