Sara Lonardo

Issued March 17, 2021

SEIU's Henry: Violent attacks against Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities must end now

SEIU’s 2 million members mourn those lost in Atlanta

San Francisco, Calif. - Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement today in response to the recent murders of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in the Atlanta Georgia area.

“SEIU members are standing together and sending our love, support and prayers to the victims and their families, as well as the entire Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Georgia and across the country who have been heavily targeted with racism and violence. We continue to demand justice on behalf of all families who have lost loved ones due to racialized and gendered violence.

“Unfortunately, these attacks against the AAPI community -- rooted in xenophobia and hateful mindsets -- are all too common in our nation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been nearly 4,000 reported incidents of physical, verbal, and online attacks against Asian Americans. We can no longer let the calls for justice go unanswered.  We will have conversations with our AAPI members and community to see how we can support them. We must all have the difficult conversations around the history of anti-Asian racism, how it shows up in our circles today, and what actions we must take to put an end to Asian hate.

“SEIU AAPI members have served as essential workers on the front lines of this crisis as healthcare providers, as first responders, and in other essential roles and they need to be protected against hate and racist violence. Our AAPI brothers and sisters have risen to denounce hate crimes and stood in solidarity with the Black Lives movement. Cross-racial solidarity is important now more than ever. 

“The growing and continued anti-Asian, anti-Black, and anti-immigrant racism and xenophobia that has been allowed to go unchecked for too many years is directly linked to the intensifying rhetoric and violence across the country. The murders of 8 people, 6 of them Asian women, along with the recent killings of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee and 75-year-old Pak Ho, and the violent cutting of 61-year-old Noel Quintana, reminds us of why we need to continue to hold leaders accountable for their irresponsible rhetoric and actions.

“SEIU continues to stand in solidarity with our AAPI community and will fight for true accountability for this violence.”