To our ECCF family and friends,
Since the start of the COVID-19 health pandemic, expressions of xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment have run rampant and gone largely unchecked across the country.
Racism towards Asians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders is real. I hear about the racial slurs and jokes directed at neighbors and have seen anti-Asian signs placed right here in our own communities. Stop AAPI Hate, a national reporting center that opened on March 19, 2020, has received descriptions of 3,795 national incidents targeting Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – from online harassment to physical attacks – within the last year. Ninety-six of these reports came from Massachusetts. Stop AAPI Hate says these are only a fraction of the incidents that actually occur.
Last month, there was a spike in violent attacks across the country, particularly on Asian elders, and following the deadly mass shooting in Atlanta earlier this week in which eight people – six of them Asian women – were brutally killed, anxiety and fear in Asian communities is justifiably at an all-time high.
Essex County Community Foundation, which serves the 34 cities and towns of Essex County and all of its 790,000 residents – 27,000 of whom identify as Asian – recognizes and acknowledges how this news has deeply affected many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, peers and community members, and we stand in solidarity with anyone who is touched by hate, racism, bias or discrimination of any kind. None of us should have to live in fear because of who we are.
For ECCF, the last year has been a time of thoughtful introspection, deep reflection and intense learning on the issues of racial equity and justice. Oftentimes during crisis, we ask ourselves how we can help or what we can do. Learning and taking individual action is a good place to start. We encourage you to join us in continuing to learn and act by exploring the resources listed below so that we can work together to make Essex County a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.