We are heartbroken and enraged by the racist and misogynistic violence perpetrated against women of Asian descent in Georgia this week. And yet we know this is not an isolated incident, nor is it new. Race-based harassment and violence rose by nearly 150% nationwide in 2020, with Asian communities increasingly targeted in the wake of COVID-19. Many members of the Oregon Food Bank community have experienced anti-Asian aggression first hand.

Acts of racism have escalated significantly here in Oregon, fueled by a rising white nationalist movement that increasingly resorts to violence and intimidation tactics. Too many of our elected officials are fomenting violence through language and action — and many more have normalized them by refusing to speak out. Meanwhile, people facing hunger and its root causes suffer.

At Oregon Food Bank, we hold people facing hunger at the center of all we do. People of color, immigrants and refugees, single mothers and caregivers, and our trans and gender non-conforming neighbors all disproportionately experience hunger in our communities. Each of these communities — especially those who live at the intersection of these identities — is also disproportionately targeted for exploitation, harassment and violence. This week’s tragedy is a manifestation of longtime failures to uphold the human dignity of women of Asian descent.

Our vision of resilient communities that never know hunger is founded on principles of equity and racial justice — and our hearts go out to the victims, their families and everyone who experiences individual and systemic racism in their daily lives. We see you, we support you, and we resolve to continue our work together to eliminate racial inequities in our food systems, in our neighborhoods and in public policy.

Our hearts also hold the whole of our communities. For, in our interconnectedness, violence based in racism or misogyny endangers our shared humanity — and is a direct threat to the world we envision and work each day to achieve.

Photo Credit: Ringo Chiu, AFP/Getty Images

In moments like this, we support the leadership of targeted communities. Read the statement from APANO, our longtime partner across food assistance and advocacy efforts.

Whether in small acts or violent ones, racial bias can have serious emotional impacts. Led by people with lived experience, the Racial Equity Support Line is there for Oregonians who have been affected by racism — from microaggressions and violence to immigration struggles and other cross-cultural issues. Dial (503) 575-3764 anytime on weekdays, 10am to 7pm PST.

When we don’t take action and speak out against racism, we are complicit in it. To report an incident in your community:

Please join us in supporting local, national and Georgia-based organizations dedicated to advancing equity and ending violence in our communities: