Statement from Erikson’s Executive Team on Anti-Asian Violence

A memorial for the victims of Tuesday’s shooting outside Gold Spa in Atlanta. Photo credit: Nicole Craine for The New York Times

Erikson Institute mourns the tragic loss of life resulting from the shootings this week in Atlanta, which left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian-American descent. The lives of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park, Hyeon Jeong Park, and two other victims (whose names have not been released) were senselessly cut short due to a violent act of racism.

We are also particularly disturbed by the harmful remarks of the Cherokee County Sheriff, which added to the already existing trauma the Asian-American community has to endure. His comments not only diminished the value of their lives, but also did nothing to foster a sense of safety for the Asian-American community in the Atlanta area.

As an institution focused on children, families, and communities, we condemn the devastating damage such violence causes both to the families directly impacted as well as to our society, which remains marred by white supremacy and deeply divided by structural inequities.

We stand by our Asian and Asian-American staff, faculty, students, and alumni in this particularly difficult time. The following resources are available to be utilized, and specifically focus on the Asian-American community: Mental Health America, and the Asian Mental Health Collective.

This horrifying incident has cast a spotlight on the enduring issue of Anti-Asian hate crimes, which according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, have been rising across our nation. The Atlanta shootings also highlight the equally compelling issues of violence against women and the ongoing threat of gun violence. The intersection of racism, misogyny, and violence clearly shows how far we have yet to go as a nation.

In the face of this latest, racist tragedy, Erikson stands united in declaring that hate, specifically white supremacy, has no place in our world, or in our work. We recommit ourselves to our mission, affirm our shared values, and gather our strength to keep working on behalf of all children, families, and communities.