#BlackLivesMatter: We Stand with Ferguson, the Family of Mike Brown, and Our City’s Black Youth

By NAPAWF News
Published: Monday, August 25th, 2014
#blacklivesmatter

Solidarity Statement of the Chicago Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

#blacklivesmatter

As Asian American women organizing in Chicago, we have seen ourselves, our broader communities, and fellow feminist and AAPI organizations alike, stand on the sidelines for too long as anti-Black racism and its deadly results unfold relentlessly in our city and country. Only hours ago, yet another Chicago teen was killed at the hands of police on Chicago’s west side, as Mike Brown’s loved ones prepared for their unarmed, 18-year-old son’s funeral.

We are far from alone on these sidelines, apparent in many non-Black communities of color for a multiplicity reasons: the most contemptible being the anti-Black racism which indeed runs through sections of our communities, the most challenging being the all-consuming struggle of survival of many caught between deportation, un-documentation, poverty, and refugee trauma.

But, while the City may segregate our communities, and while the media may attempt to place in separate silos our issues—we choose to take responsibility in this moment to definitively refuse and intentionally overcome both as false constructs. And, we call on any who stand against racism, police brutality, and state surveillance; and those who stand for reproductive justice and civil rights—to do likewise.

We honor the life of Mike Brown, extend our sympathy to his family, and support the courageous people of Ferguson by honoring the family’s request that today, the day of their son’s funeral, be a day without protest. Moreover, we dismiss the position of passive support and quiet racial justice debates prevalent within our community—for an unequivocal, active support of initiatives led by Black organizers, and targeted Black youth in particular, to resist police violence.

In reporting instances of police abuse; and in donations, dollars, organizing hours, and/or signal boosting promotion, we urge all Chicagoans reading to learn about, follow, and support local initiatives:

To support Black youth resisting police violence in Chicago and across the country:

To support Michael Brown’s family and Ferguson community organizing:

As Chicago women, we remember Rekia Boyd, an unarmed 22-year-old Black woman shot and killed by a police officer on Chicago’s North Lawndale west side neighborhood in 2012—less than a month after the murder of Trayvon Martin. We remember all women like her, and also Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old Black woman shot and killed in Michigan while simply asking for help. We commit as well to supporting all survivors of police sexual assault, and physical violence, just as our community recently supported Jessica Klyzek, a Chinese-American assaulted at the hands of vice-squad police.

As women of color feminists, we stand in the history and struggle for Reproductive Justice, described by Sister Song, a women of color collective, as “[The] right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments—based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions.” We support Mike Brown’s family and countless other Black and Brown families robbed of this right of safety for their children—just as we support the right of immigrant families to be together regardless of unjust laws imposed by America’s failed immigration policies and deportation/detention machine, which is beginning to mirror the prison industrial complex that has long destroyed the fabric of countless Black families, and Black communities.

As those who stand for a society inclusive of mental health disabilities, we are appalled at the growing list of police killings taking place mere moments after interaction with those exhibiting so-called “erratic” behavior—most recently laid bare in the Los Angeles police shooting of Ezell Ford, a young Black men with schizophrenia who police shot in the back three times while laying face down in handcuffs, and Kajieme Powell who staggered towards St. Louis police with clear symptoms of mental illness, and a knife. He was quickly shot nine times, then handcuffed while already dead or dying. We are of the millions of American families with loved ones with mental illnesses, and extend our sympathy and support likewise to the families of Ezell Ford, Kajieme Powell, and all those whose loved ones’ need for care was met by deadly police violence.

As Asian Americans, we are from a widely-varied community in which there are many different relationships to power: from South Asian Americans targeted by post-9/11 Stop-and-Frisk policy, and new immigrants who are poor, vulnerable to abuse, and undocumented—to Asian Americans who attempt assimilation into whiteness, as well as those who work destructively in concert with police and institutions of power. In the words of writer Soya Jung, “We are either left or right of the color line. There is no sitting that out… Our options are invisibility, complicity, or resistance.”

 

We choose resistance,

 

Sarah Macaraeg, Leakhena Yoeun, Pingjing Zou, and Karin Lee

Co-chairs, NAPAWF Chicago

@seramak, @lyk_yoeun, @ich134

 

Organizations and individuals let us know if you hear us, tweet @napawfchicago:

#BlackLivesMatter #WeChooseResistance #IChooseResistance

 

Image credits (l-r): Shivana Jorawar, Twitter, Ric Wilson

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