Statement from Board Chair regarding anti-AAPI violence
RALEIGH—Our hearts are very saddened at the tragic events that occurred in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. On this day, eight people were killed, six of whom were women of Asian descent. At the core of Legal Aid's values are humanity, respect and justice. Therefore, we stand firmly against any acts of hatred, racism and discrimination directed towards members of any community. While the motives behind this incident are still under investigation, these killings come on the heels of an increase in violence against members of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
As a law firm, we fight for the civil rights of every client whom we serve, regardless of their background; and we work diligently to address the greater issue of systemic racism and discrimination in all forms. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in documented violence against members of the AAPI community. Grassroots activist group Stop AAPI Hate revealed that nearly 3,800 incidents have been reported since the pandemic started. This is a significant increase in comparison to the 2,600 incidents reported from the year before. This must stop. We recognize that this is a time of great uncertainty, anger and fear for many. We encourage everyone to use these emotions to fuel efforts which move us closer to a reality where discrimination and systemic racism no longer exist.
We join in solidarity with the AAPI community and members of all marginalized communities in the fight against hate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost their lives; and, during this time of grief, we encourage everyone to take care of their mental health and seek professional counseling assistance if needed. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, help is available to you. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for assistance.
We are stronger together, and we will continue to roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to both dismantle racism and bigotry and promote equity and social justice in our communities.
Chair, Board of Directors