CFT leaders decry hate, stand in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities
For Immediate Release
California Federation of Teachers
Contact: Matthew Hardy, 510-703-5291
SACRAMENTO, CA – CFT President Jeff Freitas and CFT Vice President Arlene Inouye released the following statement in response to the ongoing violence and racism against Asian Americans, including the killings of eight people this week, six of whom were Asian women, in Northern Georgia:
Jeff Freitas said:
“Today we come together as one to grieve for the Asian women who were killed in their workplace, targeted for their identity. We condemn the murders in Georgia and the spate of racist violence that is escalating throughout our country, and state, against Asian Americans. We denounce the framing of this tragedy that amplifies a racist, sexist, and dehumanizing narrative about Asian women.
“A year ago the now ex-president of the United States called COVID-19 the ‘Kung Flu’ and the ‘China Virus,’ setting off a year of brutal attacks against members of the AAPI community. While violence against Asians in the United States has a long history, the number and intensity of attacks have spiked with 3,800 incidents in all 50 states reported to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center last year.
“As educators and classified professionals we have an obligation to use our voice to take a stand against the escalation of racist violence against our communities. We commit ourselves to fighting hate through education and to working with AAPI advocates in our state and local communities to address the crisis.
“We urge all CFT local unions and our communities to use APALA’s Resource Guide on Anti-Asian Violence, to learn more about how we can do this important work.
“In February, CFT Vice Presidents Kent Wong of UC-AFT and Arlene Inouye of UTLA joined the 14-member AFT task force for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at an inaugural meeting to discuss raising the visibility of urgent issues impacting AAPI members and their communities—issues like the rise of anti-Asian racism, including vicious attempts to blame Chinese Americans for the coronavirus pandemic. We are committed to doing the work to stop AAPI hate, starting with ensuring that students across the country are taught an expansive curriculum that includes the history of xenophobia and hate crimes against the AAPI community as well as celebrating AAPI culture and history.
“Today, CFT continues to stand by our educators and classified professionals who have brought anti-racist curriculum into our classroom and we pledge to continue this work and support our AAPI students, teachers, faculty, and school employees by fostering safe places to learn and work.”
Arlene Inouye said:
“It’s so important that the horrific murder and ongoing violence on Asian and Pacific Islanders are seen in the context of a history of white supremacy, misogyny, and U.S. imperialism. Asian and Pacific women have been dealing with anti-Asian laws and systems, dehumanization, assaults, harassment, and the ‘model minority myth’ all our lives. This is the time for all of us to unite and abolish these systems and structures of oppression that impact upon not only AAPI’s but all people of color in this country.”
The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.