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Addressing Past and Present Anti-Asian Racism

April 12th, 2021

In recent weeks, a long escalating spike in hate crimes against people of Asian descent has come into focus with stories of hate crimes in the news, particularly crimes harming or killing Asian women. This uptick has been attributed to racist and xenophobic rhetoric used to place blame for the COVID-19 outbreak. While these stories incite outrage and disbelief for those just learning about a history of systemic anti-Asian racism and exclusion, sadly it is nothing new for the individuals and communities that live this reality every day.  

Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants have felt the trauma of American racism and hatred, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the internment of Japanese American citizens in World War II to the mass shooting at a Milwaukee Sikh Temple in 2012 and the ubiquity of negative depictions and microaggressions.  As in any history centered on power and dispossession, that includes land taken or denied from farmers of Asian heritage. This has manifested in discrete policies, like state laws prohibiting Asian immigrants from owning or leasing landand in limits to accessing capital and land which are rooted in racism and compounded by lack of resources.    

These are troubling realities, ones that American Farmland Trust cannot ignore in our broader journey to grow awareness and take action in the spirit of repair. Together, we are in solidarity with Asian and Asian-American Pacific Islander communities. As a white-led organization, we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us and a responsibility to better serve all farmers and create an inclusive community for our fellow colleagues, both within our own organization and beyondYou can find out more about our commitments on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice and some of the active efforts we are making in the policy space nationally and across our regional offices.  

We invite you to learn more about how to be an ally and accomplice in undoing racism against Asian and Asian-American Pacific Islander communities and all communities and individuals who face the violence of racism in America.  

LEARN MORE:  

TAKE ACTION:  

This post was collaboratively written by AFT’s Erica Goodman, Mikaela Perry, Molly Johnston-Heck, Olivia Fuller, Samantha Levy, Stephanie Hsu, Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, Chelsea Gazillo, Caitlin Joseph, and Phoebe Silag.